Mayor sees might in creative groups

London mayor Ken Livingstone is setting up a 15-person Creative Industries Commission that is due to recommend, by the middle of next year, what his policy should be towards creative businesses in the capital.

Any ideas suggested by the commission would be driven forward by the London Development Agency, which is in the process of planning a venture capital fund for creative businesses.

The membership of the commission, whose first meeting is due in November, is now being finalised, says an LDA spokesman.

Particular efforts will be made to secure the involvement of people ‘with experience of designing creative industry workspaces’, he adds, as well as industry figures.

The commission will provide practical policy steps to help companies in 13 creative sectors, with design prominent among them.

In a press statement, Livingstone says, ‘We must strengthen our approach to business skills, business support, workspace development and risk-funding, if London is to [remain] a major creative driving force in an increasingly competitive international marketplace.’

The news comes on the back of a Greater London Authority survey, published this week, that aims to quantify the creative industries’ contribution to the London economy. According to the report, total output in 2000 was £21bn, against a total of £16bn for the financial services sector.

Design was second only to computer games and software in terms of its rate of job creation during the 1990s, the research suggests. Annualised percentage growth in jobs was just over 8 per cent in the sector between 1995 and 2000.

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