CBI calls on the government to recognise the economic value of creative industries

Natalie Woolman

The Confederation of British Industry has urged the government to better recognise the value of the creative industries to the British economy.

It has demanded in a report that a coherent strategy for the sector is developed and promoted at the highest levels of government by an appointed “champion”.

CBI’s blueprint points to several areas of concern. It wants the government to clarify the intellectual property framework so businesses are remunerated properly; create a tax system that promotes start-ups and high-growth businesses; and actively encourage investment in a digital infrastructure, including high-speed broadband.

The document also demands that the government works to ensure difficulties accessing finance do not stop the creative industries developing.

Sara Draper, one of the report’s authors, said the CBI planned to work through the challenges associated with each of the policy areas over the next 18 months, in order to “get the environment right” for growth in the sector.

Draper commented: “We have some members who are in different areas of the creative industries and as we were going round talking to them towards the end of last year, we became aware that there were common themes from a policy perspective that they were raising as being key challenges in trying to grow their businesses.

“All of our members in these sectors are experiencing these issues, [and we thought] perhaps there is something more coherent that we need to do as a piece of work and as a strategy for the creative industries.”

The blueprint has already been presented to the government, and Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport Jeremy Hunt attended its launch last week.

It follows recent calls from Society of London Theatre president Nica Burns for the government to recognise the business acumen that has ensured the continued success of West End theatre.

Britain’s creative industries produce exports worth £16 billion annually and employ almost two million people.

¥ Meanwhile, independent think-tank Demos has published a report about measuring the social return of third-sector activities. The report looked at the Southbank Centre as a case study, and found it did not research the impact of its outreach work thoroughly and did not set clear targets to assess its accessibility for “hard to reach” groups.

The report’s co-author Daniel Leighton said that, in the current climate, organisations would have to become more articulate about their social value.

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