“Ambitious investment” sought for creative industries following £12bn loss

Creative UK Group says that “meaningful” investment could create 300,000 new jobs and give the economy a £132.1bn boost.

The UK’s creative industries have lost an estimated £12bn in GVA as a result of the pandemic, according to new figures from Creative UK Group (CUG) which comprises Creative England and the Creative Industries Federation.

The data, which has been carried out by analysis group Oxford Economics and commissioned by CUG, estimates that the sector generated around £104bn instead of the projected £122bn had the pandemic not occurred.

The new research also estimates that 112,700 jobs will be lost following the pandemic including around 94,000 freelance roles and 17,000 payroll contracts.

In particular, the design and designer fashion industry are estimated to have lost £490m in GVA during the pandemic and 12,500 jobs.

Sectors that have been hit the hardest are those reliant on audiences and footfall, including museums, galleries and live performance venues.

“Huge ramifications for the UK”

However the true cost of the pandemic is likely to be larger. While the data reveals that 2.1m jobs existed in the creative industries before the pandemic, this figure does not include creative jobs in other industries, such as designers in the transport or retail sector, for example.

The financial and job losses have “huge ramifications for the UK”, says CUG CEO Caroline Norbury. She adds: “The creative industries don’t just make themselves money, they support swathes of the UK economy.”

COVID has hampered the creative sector’s growth over the past decade, according to Norbury, particularly impacting local communities across the UK through supply chains.

Before the pandemic, the creative industries in the North East and Wales were generating an additional £2.50 to the wider local economy for every £1 they directly contributed, CUG data shows.

How investment could lead to jobs and GVA growth

Despite the setbacks, the creative industries could play a key role in the government’s community-focused ‘levelling up’ plans, explains Norbury.

The creative industries have the potential to create 300,000 new jobs and generate £132.1bn in GVA by 2025 if investment is increased by 20% from pre-pandemic levels, according to CUG’s data.

New figures seem to support this strategy. Targeted support measures, such as last year’s £1.57bn Culture Recovery Fund, were “enormously instrumental” in prevent the projected 400,000 job losses, CUG says. Last year, the Creative Industries Federation projected that the creative industries would lose £74bn in revenue in 2020.

“With ambitious investment, the creative sector can rebuild faster than the UK economy and make a major contribution to the country’s post-pandemic recovery,” Norbury adds. She is calling for “meaningful, targeted investment” in the creative sector.

CUG lists programmes such as Creative Industries Clusters and public funding from the UKRI’s Innovate UK scheme as effective areas of investment. You can download the full report on CUG’s website.

Design Museum director Tim Marlow adds that these sectors are “central to our recovery”, pointing to their wider social impact.

He says: “The creative industries – and design in particular – have the capacity to change behaviour, bring people together, empower communities and transform individual experience.”

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