Arts for arts' and the nation's sake

Published: 25 July 2021
Reporter: Sandra Giorgetti

The UK Creative Industries Unleashing the Power and Potential of Creativity Credit: Creative Industries Council
Value generated by the UK creative industries 2019 Credit: Creative Industries Council
Creative industries created jobs at more than twice the rate of the rest of the UK economy in 2019 Credit: Creative Industries Council

New report The UK Creative Industries Unleashing the Power and Potential of Creativity shows that judicious government investment now could reap benefits for the sector, seeing it out-perform the economy as a whole.

A further piece of recently published research reveals that nationally, the creative sector has lost £12 billion in GVA, an economic productivity metric, and more than 110,000 jobs.

The performing arts as an area suffered a loss greater than 40% of GVA and 80,000 jobs. For context, this is over a quarter.

The report from Creative England and the Creative Industries Federation (Creative UK Group) confirms the dire position for freelancers, and predicts that the North East and Wales will be amongst the last to recover, landing a devastating blow to these areas where the creative industries contribute a whopping £2.50 over and above every £1 generated directly.

Other projections are similarly sad reading: job losses are to continue into the year and the bottom line is that the creative sector's pre-pandemic status will not recover in terms of either economy or employment for some four years because of continued operational disruptions.

This is against a landscape that envisaged the creative sector contributing £132.1 billion to the wider UK economy annually in the same timeframe. Pre-pandemic, the sector was growing at four times the rate of the UK economy as a whole.

The report also provides a light to lead the sector out of the gloom.

The position would not be so calamitous if the government were to make significant investment now. In fact, such action could see the sector make a significant contribution towards the UK's recovery since the sector accounted for more than 2 million jobs with an addition 1.4 million supply chain jobs, representing one in ten jobs in the UK pre-pandemic.

Were the government to "invest in creativity" and work in tandem with the industry, an estimated 300,000 new jobs could be delivered with over 26% economic growth by 2025.

Creative UK Group's Caroline Norbury MBE, CEO, said, "this has huge ramifications for the UK because the creative industries don’t just make themselves money, they support whole swathes of the UK economy. The government’s levelling up agenda cannot succeed without creativity.

"With ambitious investment, the creative sector can rebuild faster than the UK economy and make a major contribution to the country’s post-pandemic recovery. We are money makers, job creators, innovators and problem solvers. We can reshape this country’s future for the better, but to realise our ambitions for tomorrow, we must invest in creativity today.

"We are not asking for handouts. We are asking for meaningful, targeted investment in creative ideas, creative industries and creative skills, that can unlock the incredible potential of the creative sector to kickstart our country’s recovery, and that will be repaid many times over."

Creative UK Group has launched #WeAreCreative, a social media campaign targeted at individual and corporate creatives showing their power and potential to MPs and government decision makers.