Ministers fund creative sector deal with £150m

The government has hailed a £150million shot-in-the arm for the creative industries, calling it a “ground-breaking” new strategy for the £92billion marketplace.

Welcoming the joint investment between industry, universities and creative/cultural outfits, ministers said that the “ambitious” deal would unlock growth across the UK.

Business secretary Greg Clark even gushed that the deal represented a “landmark moment” for the government’s relationship with the creative and cultural sectors.

But the Creative Industries Federation (CIF) sounded less enthused. It described the deal more conservatively, saying it was a “welcome first step.”

“Government’s commitments cannot end here,” urged the CIF’s chief executive John Kampfner.

“We look forward to continued commitment in supporting the next generation of creatives which will ensure our creative industries remain world-leading.”

 The federation’s focus on talent supply is intentional (it has a campaign planned to entice more people into creative roles), but the deal’s main commitments are not worker or skills-related.

For example, £39million will go towards supporting eight creative R&D partnerships; £33million will go on immersive technology and £2million will be spent on an anti-piracy web campaign ‘Get It Right.’

An additional £20m will go to towns and cities so they can invest in culture and creative industries while, within Whitehall, a new creative industries Trade and Investment board will set up to boost creative industry exports (by 50% by 2023).

The closest the deal appears to come to providing the talent that the CIF is concerned about (especially – it has suggested -- in light of Brexit), is a new free school for 2019.

And despite not featuring freelancers (except for in a case study), a report outlining the deal does promise “improved access to finance from the British Business Bank for high-growth businesses outside of London, including those in the creative sector.”

In addition, the government says it will invest up to £4 million in a new programme of investment readiness support for creative businesses -- another investment freelancers may benefit from.

“This sector deal is just the beginning,” said Culture Secretary Matt Hancock, in a clarification that the CIF will likely welcome. “[This is the] first iteration of an agreement that will develop over time.”

In the foreword of the report, the minister reiterated: “There is enormous potential to go further.

“The immediate opportunity is in growing global demand for British creative content -- not just culture and entertainment, but services like design and advertising that power wider industry.”

Nicola Mendelsohn, co-chair of the Creative Industries Council said: “This breakthrough deal represents a huge vote of confidence in our creative industries”.

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