Creative Industries

Businesses from the creative industries operate in sectors ranging from advertising to architecture, and film to games. Together they represent a key sector, worth £87.4billion in 2015 [1] , and with growth twice that of the wider economy [2] . Since the referendum, creative companies have reported contracts being cancelled and there are concerns some will re-locate to hubs elsewhere. As a sector strongly linked to inward investment and exports it's essential to ensure it can build on its global success, contributing to UK jobs and growth.

Key stats

  • 1.9 million employees
  • £87.4 billion GVA (5.3% of total GVA)
  • £19.8 billion exports
  • £8.7 billion imports
EU Trade: Both tariff and non-tariff barriers on the creative industries must be avoided

Ease of trade is critical for the creative community, and it will be vital to avoid tariffs and non-tariff barriers on services and goods. For the screen industries, if UK works do not continue to qualify as European, they may face quotas and become subject to EU trade barriers.

Regulation: Long-term regulatory cooperation with the EU helps the creative industries compete in a global world

Alignment with key European frameworks around design standards, intellectual property, data protection, and audio-visual media services is vital for the creative industries. With ongoing developments around the digital single market - including on copyright and digital content - likely to have a profound impact on the creative industries, government should play a full role in current legislative negotiations. Meanwhile the ongoing free flow of data is vital to ensure companies doing EU business can transfer information easily, and architects benefit from mutual recognition of qualifications.

Migration: Openness to global talent helps the UK's creative industries be world leaders

The UK is a hub for the creative industries, with many international firms headquartered here. The ability to source talent from across Europe is a major asset to them. With jobs in the sector increasing and skills shortages in areas such as visual effects and software engineering, non-UK EU nationals plug the gap. Industries ranging from advertising to music also value the ability to move employees from country to country for short periods, be it for touring purposes or secondments. In the long-term, digital skills policy should evolve to help fill roles in the sector. But given global competition for the talent required we need an immigration system that enables creative businesses to attract and recruit from the EU and beyond to maintain the sector's leading position.

International: Ambitious new international trade agreements could boost the creative industries

As the UK carves out a new international role the EU will be continue to be a key market. Meanwhile, there are clear opportunities elsewhere, with global demand for creative goods and services on the rise. Government must now work in partnership with industry to open up global trade opportunities. Future trade agreements should incorporate strong IP protection and retain scope for continued public support for our media and creative industries.

Funding: A new funding deal should recognise the economic and social benefits of the creative industries

The Creative Europe Programme has supported the UK's media and video games sector with €40million over two years [3] , boosting development, distribution, export, and exhibition. Creative businesses across the country also receive support from funds such as European Structural and Investment Funds and Horizon2020. If access to these initiatives is removed, new funding streams tailored to UK needs should be designed, including a significant investment in skills.

Exit: A smooth exit is needed to ensure regulatory certainty in the creative industries

The regulatory environment for creative industries would be very uncertain if the UK left the EU without a deal or an interim arrangement. Some of this uncertainty could be mitigated by direct transposition of EU rules before exit. However, there would be confusion for UK companies operating in the EU. This could include challenges to the rights for companies to transfer data, provide audio-visual services with equivalent privileges, and intellectual property arrangements. This must be avoided through a comprehensive new UK-EU deal – and temporary interim arrangements if required.

Our members say

"Very few fashion labels manufacture entirely within the UK. The majority rely heavily upon sourcing and importing materials from or via the EU and/or manufacturing in European factories using a skilled workforce. The immediate impact of Brexit has been to increase these costs by an average of 30%." - Midlands-based online fashion retailer and marketer

"If we get the right framework in place, there is tremendous opportunity for the UK's film and screen sectors to continue to grow internationally." - representative of the screen industries, London

"We cannot have innovative, creative, and globally competitive products and services to trade unless we have a diversity of talented people making those products." - spokesperson from the games sector, London
Our partners have more information:
  • Advertising Association
  • Design Council
  • UK Interactive Entertainment Association
  • UK Music

For creative industries at the CBI, contact: Jessica Dickinson on 020 7395 8053 or


[1] Official Statistics, DCMS Sectors Economic Estimates

[2] DCMS, January 2016

[3] Creative Europe, May 2016

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