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UK House of Lords says government complacency putting creative industries at risk

"The Government’s failure to grasp both the opportunities and risks is baffling."

The UK's House of Lords has warned the government needs to be less complacent to protect the country's creative industries.

In a report published earlier today, the House of Lords Communication Committee said the UK's creative industries are facing increased international competition, and that senior government figures are failing to recognize the sector's commercial potential.

The Committee said it hoped to "sound the alarm" over what it feels is a governmental failure to place the creative sector at the heart of its future growth agenda.

"The UK’s creative industries were worth more than £115 billion to the UK economy before the pandemic, and make up as many as one in eight businesses across the country. Their contribution to the economy in 2019 was more than the aerospace, life sciences and automotive industries combined," reads the report.

"The sector also delivers higher levels of innovation than many other areas of the economy. Countries across the world are competing for a slice of the lucrative opportunities in the sector: global exports of creative services alone exceeded $1 trillion in 2020–more than double what it was in 2010."

Despite that, the Committee believes inaction on the part of the UK government means the UK is now at risk of losing its leading position within the fast-growing industry.

As a result, it has called on the government to fix policies "characterized by incoherence and barriers to success" by providing more competitive tax incentives, addressing blind spots in education and skills policy, and shelving changes to intellectual property laws which "threaten creative sector business models."

Committee chair, Baroness Stowell of Beestone, claimed that "muddled policies, barriers to success, and indifference to the sector's potential" will hamper the UK's creative industries unless the government takes action.

"Our report sets out some immediate challenges that the Government can address now. These include improving R&D tax policy to stop excluding innovation in the creative sector; abandoning plans to relax intellectual property rules which would undercut our creative businesses; making the Department for Education wake up to the reality that the future lies in blending creative and digital skills rather than perpetuating silos; and urging senior figures across Government to take the creative sector’s economic potential more seriously," said Stowell.

"The UK’s creative industries are an economic powerhouse and have been a huge success story. But the fundamentals that underpin our success are changing, and rivals are catching up. The Government’s failure to grasp both the opportunities and risks is baffling."

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