Creative industry ‘as important to Britain as finance’

London, June 24:

Britain’s creative industries are as vital to the country’s economy as the financial services sector, according to a report to be published tomorrow.

The London-based Work Foundation think tank says in its report, ‘Staying ahead: the economic performance of the UK’s creative industries’, that sectors including architecture, TV, fashion and music are the UK’s ‘great unsung success story’, employing 1.8 million people. But it warns that its growth could slow without ‘targeted public investment’.

The report, commissioned by the UK’s Department of Culture, Media and Sport, says the country generates more ‘cultural good’ for export than any other nation in the world, totalling $8.5 billion in 2002, the latest year for which comprehensive figures are available. The 13 creative industry sectors are advertising, architecture, publishing, radio and TV, design, film, mus-ic, software and computer serv-ices, computer games, designer fashion, crafts, performing arts and artsand antique market.

Work Foundation chief executive Will Hutton said, “There is no doubt that Britain’s creative knack is something to celebrate. The stuff that creates new insights, delights and experiences, that stirs our senses and enriches our lives, is also the stuff that is propelling a larger slice of our economic output.”

“The question is can we continue to supply this growing demand? How we create the architecture that will incubate rather than stunt creative industry growth is a major policy question.” The report identified eig-ht drivers of success for the ind-ustries, which policy-makers should note, including need for grants to be better targeted and ways of offering additional help to encourage smaller enterprises to expand.