Do we need a Prime Minister who supports the Creative Industries?
The economic value of our creative industries is clear – but are they a priority for Britain’s political leaders? As the race for the leader of the Conservative party continues and is now narrowed to Boris Johnson or Jeremy Hunt, we ask, how important should the creative industries be to our potential future leader?
National strength of UK Creative Industries
The UKs creative industries have been recognised as a national strength and a priority for industrial policy. From design and advertising to video games, film and music, the growth performance of the UK’s creative industries is impressive. In 2017, the contribution of creative industries in current prices gross value added (GVA) is estimated to be 5.5% of total GVA. And in the preceding seven years they grew almost twice as fast as the economy as a whole. They also account for 2.5 million jobs (6.1% of the UK total) and for 11.9% of non-financial businesses.
The Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre (PEC) is part of the Creative Industries Clusters Programme led by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and funded through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund. It was set up to provide independent research and recommendations to fill the gaps in evidence about the strength of the creative industries and lead to better policies for further growth. They found that out of the ten candidates that were running for conservative leadership, seven have never mentioned the phrase ‘creative industries’ while speaking in Parliament
Are only occasional references in parliament enough?
“Given the number of candidates standing in the Conservative leadership race, we thought it would be useful to discover a little more about each candidate’s position on the creative industries. In doing this, we learned an uncomfortable truth – that the creative industries are mentioned far less frequently than other industries.”
Using Hansard, the official report of all parliamentary debates, it was discovered that out of the ten candidates that put themselves forward, only six have mentioned the phrase ‘creative industries’ while speaking in Parliament, and of those six, only four have mentioned the sector more than once.
“This is all the more concerning given that three of these candidates have previously been Secretary of State for the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and would naturally have been expected to refer to the creative industries, given that it was their job.”
Who has championed the Creative Industries more – Hunt or Johnson?
Of the two remaining contenders their mention of creative industries in parliament is this:
Boris Johnson (MP from 2001–08 and since 2015) has never used the phrase ‘creative industries’ while speaking in Parliament, although on one occasion he made note of the strength of the UK’s TV industry exports.
Jeremy Hunt (MP since 2005) was shadow Secretary of State for Culture from 2007–10 and became Secretary of State from 2010–12. He has mentioned the ‘creative industries’ in the House of Commons eight times since becoming an MP. While he was Secretary of State, the government passed legislation on creative industries tax credits.
Neither are impressive statistics, although it is actual policy being put in place in order to grow the creative industries that is more important than how often they are referred to. However, the fact that the prospective leaders and in particular the front runner, have not seen a reason to mention the creative industries should be a cause for concern.
The future of Creative Industry in the UK
Only time will tell what the future of the creative industries will be. It’s a nervous time for all in the uncertainty of post-Brexit Britain and the appointment of a new Conservative Leader. What is clear is that a champion of the creative industries is needed in our next prime minister in order for the sector to continue its essential contribution to the UK economy. Our specialist advisors are on hand for any query you may have related to accounting for the creative industries – don’t hesitate to get in touch.