What Does UK Government’s Creative Industries Sector Vision Mean for Film & TV?
The UK government recently published its Creative Industries Sector Vision, which sets out its ambitious plan to grow the creative industries by £50b over the next seven years, spurred by £77m of new funding.
In announcing the Sector Vision, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak commented that “these industries have a special place in our national life and make a unique contribution to how we feel about ourselves as a country... I’m personally committed to the success of the creative industries – and so is the government I lead.”
Why the creative industries?
The Sector Vision is ambitious, identifying the creative industries as one of the government’s five key areas of growth.
“Growing the economy means growing the creative industries,” Sunak said of the plans. “All of us have a TV show we’re binge watching and turn to films, games or the theatre to transport us to a different world.”
The sector is already a British success story, growing at 150% of the rate of the wider economy. Given that it contributes £108b in Gross Value Added (GVA) annually and that employment in the sector has grown at five times the rate of the rest of the economy since 2011, it makes sense to invest in growing the creative industries further.
What’s in the Sector Vision?
The Sector Vision sets out how the government and industry will work together to unlock growth potential by 2030. It was developed in partnership with the Creative Industries Council and sets out three main goals for 2030:
- Grow creative clusters across the UK, adding £50b in Gross Value Added.
- Build a highly skilled productive and inclusive workforce for the future, supporting an additional 1m jobs across the UK.
- Maximise the positive impact of the creative industries on individuals and communities, the environment and the UK’s global standing.
Development of new infrastructure
To support these goals, four new state-of-the-art research and development facilities will be set up to drive the next generation of screen technology and on-set virtual production, with £63m of new industry investment announced on top of the government’s investment.
The network of “movie labs” will include a national lab at Pinewood Studios and a new Insight and Foresight Unit led by Goldsmiths and the British Film Institute. Three regional hubs in Dundee, Yorkshire and Belfast will form the largest virtual production, research and development network in Europe and are expected to contribute a combined £33m to the economy and support 423 jobs.
The labs are part of the UK Research and Innovation’s Convergent Screen Technologies and performance in Realtime (CoSTAR) programme.
“As technology increasingly infuses the creative industries, our competitive advantage in both sectors means this country has an unparalleled opportunity in the decades ahead,” said Sunak.
Encouraging a career in the creative industries
Alongside investment, the Sector Vision commits the government to a new creative careers promise – a pledge backed by a comprehensive package of actions to increase opportunities, particularly for young people, to pursue careers in the creative industries. It also promises to “intensify the creative industries’ ability to enrich our lives and create pride in place.”
This sentiment is not new; the UK has been experiencing a shortage of crew as it attempts to keep up with demand from record-breaking levels of inward investment. This has led to several industry-wide initiatives aimed at closing the skills gap, including the Entertainment Partners and Netflix Talent Development Fund, a £500k ($616k) fund that supports the development and progression of film and high-end TV production talent across the UK.
For many, the government’s renewed interest in the creative industries is a positive step in terms of both investment and attitude. Writing in The Times, Patrick McCrae commented that “it’s encouraging (if not overdue) to see the arts being taken more seriously by politicians... Crucially, the [Sector] Vision will help to address one of the biggest obstacles the sector has traditionally faced: an ingrained perception that creativity is a soft “nice to have.”
This sentiment was echoed by Bectu; in its official statement, the UK union for Broadcasting, Entertainment, Communications and Theatre acknowledged that the Sector Vision “recognises the creative industries’ huge economic potential” and welcomed the government’s “commitment to prioritise and invest in the sector, in creative jobs and to build a future talent pipeline.”
However, Bectu went on to express concern that the plans must be realistic:
“Generating more creative jobs is a worthy goal, but the government must ensure these opportunities are attractive and available to a more diverse talent pool, and that workers have a seat at the table to help address the sector’s key challenges and drive its future development… Ultimately, if the government wants to back the creative industries and better support the workforce it must demonstrate a better understanding of the delicate nature of the sector’s ecosystem and avoid knee jerk, politically motivated decisions.”
With that in mind, further work may need to be done to ensure the industry can keep up with the government’s ambitious growth plans. That said, the Sector Vision is a clear vote of confidence by the government in the future of the UK film and TV industry.