At risk: our creative future Contents

Summary of conclusions and recommendations

The case for action

1.In recent years the creative industries have delivered more economic value than the life sciences, aerospace and automotive sectors combined. The Government has a major opportunity to put the sector at the heart of its future growth agenda. It is failing to do so. (Paragraph 21)

2.The Government should commit to placing the creative industries at the heart of its growth plans. It should explain its rationale for omitting the creative industries from its Autumn Statement priority growth sectors. (Paragraph 21)

3.We welcome the Government’s plans for a Creative Industries Sector Vision, which has been delayed since summer 2022. (Paragraph 22)

4.The Government should publish the Sector Vision at the earliest opportunity. The Government should take account of the conclusions and recommendations in this report when implementing the Sector Vision’s workstreams. (Paragraph 22)

A digital future

5.The Intellectual Property Office’s proposed changes to intellectual property law are misguided. They take insufficient account of the potential harm to the creative industries. They were not even defended by the minister in the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport whose portfolio stands to be most affected by the change. Developing AI is important, but it should not be pursued at all costs. (Paragraph 34)

6.The Intellectual Property Office should pause its proposed changes to the text and data mining regime immediately. It should conduct and publish an impact assessment on the implications for the creative industries. If this assessment finds negative effects on businesses in the creative industries, it should pursue alternative approaches, such as those employed by the European Union. The Intellectual Property Office should write to us confirming its plans and timelines in response to this report. (Paragraph 35)

7.New technologies are making it easier and cheaper to reproduce and distribute creative works and image likenesses. Timely Government action is needed to prevent such disruption resulting in avoidable harm, or production moving to countries with better regulation. (Paragraph 42)

8.The Government should ratify the Beijing treaty on audio-visual performances at the earliest opportunity. It should set out its timelines for doing so in response to this report. (Paragraph 42)

9.The UK’s intellectual property framework is respected across the world. These protections underpin the success of the UK’s creative industry exports. The Government must not water them down when striking new trade deals. (Paragraph 47)

10.The Department for International Trade should commit to maintaining the UK’s existing standards of intellectual property rights in all future trade deals. (Paragraph 47)

11.Like other sectors, the creative industries are exposed to the opportunities and threats of automation and job replacement. Workers on lower incomes and insecure contracts are particularly vulnerable. (Paragraph 54)

12.The Government’s Sector Vision must set out a clear plan for ensuring that its encouragement of technological change is accompanied by complementary plans to help the creative industries sustain quality jobs and promote a diverse workforce. (Paragraph 54)

Improving the business environment

13.We fail to understand UK Research and Investment’s rationale for not allocating funding to continue the Creative Industries Clusters Programme, and choosing to prioritise other projects—particularly before the final impact evaluation has been completed. Current assessments show the programme has far exceeded expectations in promoting innovation, attracting co-investment and delivering SME growth. (Paragraph 66)

14.UKRI should review its funding allocations and identify options for continuing the most successful clusters within the Creative Industries Clusters Programme after March 2023. UKRI should publish its plans and decision timelines in response to this report. (Paragraph 67)

15.The Arts and Humanities Research Council and participating universities should work with regions which are not part of the Creative Industries Clusters Programme to share best practice and create links between clusters. (Paragraph 68)

16.The Government’s definition of R&D for tax relief is narrow and restrictive compared with that in other OECD countries. This risks holding back innovation in the UK’s creative industries. (Paragraph 76)

17.The Government should change the definition of R&D for the purpose of tax relief to include more of the creative sector. It should conduct and publish a substantial review setting out the risks, costs, and benefits of adopting such an approach. It should start by exploring the OECD definition of R&D tax relief. The Government should provide timelines for this review in response to this report. (Paragraph 76)

18.Tax reliefs have played an important role in supporting innovation, growth and international competitiveness in the creative industries. We welcome the Government’s commitment to continuing such support. But other countries are increasingly adopting similarly competitive tax relief systems. The UK is falling behind. (Paragraph 80)

19.The Government’s consultation on creative industry tax reliefs must benchmark UK incentives against those in other countries to ensure the UK remains competitive. (Paragraph 80)

20.Access to finance remains a problem for SMEs in the creative industries. A lack of data, investor wariness and overlong processes present barriers to progress. It is not surprising that businesses turn to overseas investors, sell up or move abroad. (Paragraph 90)

21.The Government should work with the Creative Industries Council to explore international lessons for improving access to finance. It should set out its plans to address access to finance problems in the forthcoming Sector Vision. (Paragraph 91)

22.There is a welcome range of schemes providing business support and guidance. But they remain disjointed and hard to navigate, particularly for small organisations. The Government’s recent Create Growth Programme to support SMEs is welcome but limited in scale. (Paragraph 96)

23.The Government should monitor the impact of the Create Growth Programme, identify its most effective interventions and help local authorities share key learnings across the country. (Paragraph 96)

24.The Government should work with local authorities to help consolidate guidance for creative sector businesses into easily accessible support hubs. Local enterprise partnerships provide a good vehicle for delivering this work. (Paragraph 97)

25.Lack of access to affordable premises inhibits the growth of creative SMEs. Better co-location programmes could reduce overheads and encourage profitable exchanges of ideas and people. (Paragraph 100)

26.The Creative Industries Council should work with the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities to evaluate options for improving long-term access to affordable workspaces for creative businesses, such as building on the Creative Land Trust programme. (Paragraph 100)

27.The UK is rightly regarded as an international leader in the arts. Technological innovation and talent exchanges between public and private organisations will be key to the sector’s future success. We welcome Arts Council England’s existing support for improving innovation and digital competence in organisations. (Paragraph 105)

28.We recommend Arts Council England works with the Government to incentivise further collaboration between the commercial and non-profit sector to support innovation. This could include Government-backed incentives for SMEs to collaborate with arts organisations, for example. We also recommend that Arts Council England plays an enhanced role in providing coordination among organisations receiving public funding, to support cost sharing on expensive projects and ensure the widest possible reuse of new initiatives. (Paragraph 106)


29.Skills shortages present a major challenge to the creative industries. But detailed data on these shortages are limited and fragmented. This makes it difficult to forecast future requirements and develop evidence-based policy interventions that target priority areas. We welcome the launch of the Unit for Future Skills, but there is an urgent need for progress in its work. (Paragraph 116)

30.The Government should set out its plans for improving the collection and use of skills data (including on freelancers) in the creative industries to inform and drive change in skills policy. (Paragraph 116)

31.Careers guidance at school on the creative sector is vital. But its current provision is not good enough. Delivery is patchy and disjointed. Information about careers in the creative sector is too often out of date. The Careers & Enterprise Company does important work but is insufficiently well known. We were pleased that ministers recognised the need for improvements. (Paragraph 125)

32.The Government should work with education leaders and industry bodies to promote the work of the Careers & Enterprise Company. Programmes providing guidance on routes into the creative sector need to be expanded. (Paragraph 125)

33.The Gatsby Benchmarks provide a good opportunity for influencing the provision of careers guidance (Paragraph 126)

34.The Benchmarks’ guidance should be revised to include references to careers in the creative industries. (Paragraph 126)

35.We endorse the recommendation of the House of Lords Youth Unemployment Committee that careers guidance be made a compulsory element of the primary and secondary curriculum. (Paragraph 127)

36.Employers are increasingly calling for a blend of creative and digital skills. This interdisciplinary approach needs to be encouraged at school. Yet there are too few incentives for students to study a combination of creative and STEM subjects. The Government has been clear it has no plans to expand the EBacc. While this is a matter of regret, we have heard that improvements can be made without wholesale reform to the education system. (Paragraph 136)

37.The Department for Education must tackle the decline in take up of school subjects relevant to the creative industries—particularly Design and Technology. It should start by urgently promoting the value of creative subjects and highlighting the rewarding career opportunities they can offer. It should also review other options, such as including a greater focus on creative education in Ofsted’s inspection regime. The Department should provide an initial update on its plans in response to this report and a further update by the end of June 2023. (Paragraph 137)

38.Post-16 education plays a critical role in developing skills for the creative industries. But training pathways are confusing for students and employers. Clearer routes into the industry are needed. (Paragraph 142)

39.T Levels provide a key vocational route into creative occupations. But some adjustments may be needed to ensure they deliver on their objectives. The requirements for workplace placements are hard for many creative sector businesses to provide. And business skills must feature more prominently in the content of courses aimed at the creative industries, given the high proportion of freelancers in the sector. Closer collaboration between the Department for Education and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport will be key to making these changes a success. (Paragraph 147)

40.The Department for Education must work closely with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport in keeping under review the content and structure of T Level courses relating to the creative industries. (Paragraph 148)

41.The apprenticeship scheme remains poorly suited to a large proportion of creative businesses, who are unable to provide the required length of training placements due to the short-term, project-based nature of much work in the sector. We welcome the recent launch of the pilot of flexi-job apprenticeships. (Paragraph 152)

42.We recommend the flexi-job apprenticeships pilot is promoted more widely. (Paragraph 152)

43.The Department for Education’s sweeping rhetoric about ‘low value courses’ is unhelpful. We agree that universities should provide good value for money. But the Department must also acknowledge that many of those going into the creative industries will work flexibly, in freelance roles, and take time to generate higher salaries. That does not mean their studies and subsequent jobs are less worthwhile. (Paragraph 158)

44.The Department for Education, in providing strategic direction to the Office for Students, should change its approach to ‘low value courses’ to take better account of the realities of work in the creative industries. This should take more detailed account of business lifecycles and freelance work. (Paragraph 158)

45.The new Lifetime Skills Guarantee and Lifelong Loan Entitlement are welcome. (Paragraph 163)

46.Courses available as part of the Lifetime Skills Guarantee and Lifelong Loan Entitlement should be informed by labour market data on creative industry skills needs. (Paragraph 163)

47.Engagement between employers and education policy is important, but too often fragmented or duplicative. The Government should be more active in providing co-ordination. (Paragraph 168)

48.The Creative Industries Council should have engagement from the Department for Education to support coordination between creative business needs and skills policy. (Paragraph 168)

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