Print this Page
Print this Page

The first interactive map of the UK's creative industries was published at the end of 2010.

Show all Profile-News...

United Kingdom/ 4.2 Specific policy issues and recent debates  

4.2.3 Cultural/creative industries: policies and programmes

DCMS aims to help the creative industries thrive by raising their profile and supporting their development through a range of policy objectives (this can be found at:

In 1997, the then Prime Minister established a Creative Industries Task Force. Its primary roles were to raise awareness of the economic value of the industries, highlight the issues they faced, and to make recommendations for change. The Task Force agreed on a working definition for these industries as those activities which have their origin in individual creativity, skill and talent and which have a potential for wealth and job creation through the generation and exploitation of intellectual property. The emphasis, therefore, was on the creator and the ability to exploit their originality. In terms of coverage, the creative industries were taken to include advertising, architecture, the art and antiques market, crafts, design, designer fashion, film and video, interactive leisure software (computer / video games), music, performing arts, publishing, software and computer services, television and radio. As such it differs from the more conventional scope of the "cultural industries".

The Task Force first measured the economic importance of the creative industries. The importance of this exercise was to convey to a wider audience the value of the industries in hard economic terms, as well as their contribution to the quality of life and to cultural values. It also demonstrated the relative importance of these industries compared to more traditional industrial sectors. The Creative Industries Mapping Document, first published in 1998 and updated in 2001, showed that not only were the industries a key economic contributor, but that they demonstrated faster than average growth potential. Against a backdrop in which manufacturing, the service sector and local government employment were all in decline, this was an area showing strong growth and the source of many of tomorrow's often highly skilled jobs. The Mapping Document also identified key issues affecting all the creative industries: skills and training; finance; intellectual property rights; and exporting. A range of measures was taken involving several government departments and players from the creative industries.

The latest Mapping Document, issued in 2001, showed that the creative industries in the UK:

  • generated GBP 112.5 billion in revenue;
  • accounted for GBP 10.3 billion in exports
  • accounted for 1.3 million jobs; and
  • contributed over 5% to gross domestic product.

DCMS has lead responsibility in government for architecture, the art & antiques markets, crafts, designer fashion, film & video, music, performing arts and television & radio. DCMS shares responsibility with the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) for advertising, computer & video games, design and publishing. BERR is responsible for software.

The DCMS Creative Industries Economic Estimates published in January 2009, found that the creative industries, excluding crafts and design, accounted for 6.4% of Gross Value Added (GVA) in 2006; grew by an average of 4% per annum between 1997 and 2006, compared to an average of 3% for the whole of the economy over this period; with exports totalling GBP 16 billion in 2006. This equated to 4.3% of all goods and services exported.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport's work on the Creative Industries includes:

  • the Creative Economy Programme: this is the first step in the DCMS goal to make the UK the world's creative hub;
  • exporting goods and services to overseas markets;
  • education and skills: there are a number of government initiatives and funding schemes that support skills development and training in the creative industries;
  • regional support: regional organisations often deal with issues that have been identified as of most concern to creative companies, including access to finance;
  • access to business support and funding: DCMS works with other government departments and other organisations to ensure that the creative industries have the support they need to succeed;
  • support across government - DCMS works closely with key players across government to address and monitor policy that affects the creative industries; and
  • tax and regulation: DCMS works with HM Revenue and Customs on issues of taxation and regulation that affect the creative industries, including:
  • tax relief for filmmakers of British films (see chapter 5.1.5). For more information go to:
  • implementation of the e-Commerce Directive; and
  • definition of research and development for tax purposes.
  • intellectual property rights: Many people in the creative industries face issues of intellectual property rights at one stage or another. The Intellectual Property website ( is a comprehensive government portal that provides businesses and inventors with essential information on copyrights, trademarks, patents and designs and also guidance on how to profit from them.
  • A strong and balanced Intellectual Property (IP) system: Andrew Gowers was commissioned in 2005 by the Chancellor of the Exchequer to undertake a review of the UK's intellectual property ("IP") policies and institutions, based on the recommendations made by the Creative Industries Intellectual Property Forum of 2004. His report was presented to the government in December 2006. Gowers found that the current IP system was performing broadly satisfactorily, but that a number of improvements could be made. Responsibility for IP rests with the UK Intellectual Property Office ( and DCMS is working closely with it to ensure that the needs of the creative industries are reflected in the implementation of the recommendations and the development of policy.

Launched in 2005, the Creative Economy Programme is the first step in the DCMS' goal to make the UK one of the world's creative hubs by ensuring that the most is made out of the country's creative talents, raising awareness of the industry, creating a shared vision across national, regional and local stakeholders and developing policy and partnerships. The programme focuses on seven issues that are the key drivers of productivity in the creative industries - i.e. education and skills; competition and intellectual property; technology; business support and access to finance; diversity; infrastructure; and evidence and analysis. The DCMS created expert working groups for each of these seven issues, drawing on expertise from across non-departmental public bodies, other government departments and stakeholders, as well as consulting widely with all of the 13 creative industry sectors. There have been a number of publications during the CEP process: the working group reports and the Work Foundation's report, Staying Ahead: the economic performance of the UK's creative industries. The result of this work was a Green Paper published in 2008, which included policy ideas aimed at improving the support government gives to the Creative Industries in the UK. Creative Britain: New Talents for the New Economy documents 26 commitments outlining how the government will take action to support the creative industries (available for download at: The Creative Economy Programme website contains the latest information:

DCMS and partners support the work of three industry led export groups, helping to develop the strategy for the export of goods and services from the creative industries. These three groups bring together a unique degree of expertise from the public and private sectors and trade bodies. The groups develop policies, programmes and activities specifically focused on the creative industries, to help government assist new and established exporters to develop overseas trade capability and new opportunities abroad.

UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) is the government organisation that helps UK-based companies succeed in the global economy and assists overseas companies to bring their high quality investment to the UK. UKTI offers expertise and contacts through its extensive network of specialists in the UK, and in British embassies and other diplomatic offices around the world. The creative industries are one of the UK's key strengths that UKTI promotes overseas with the help of groups such as Design Partners, which aims to help design exporters develop overseas trade and identify new opportunities and target markets abroad, thereby increasing design export potential. This group seeks to co-ordinate the activities of design industry bodies and government agencies and departments in order to meet its aim.

All the English regional development agencies and the devolved administrations have recognised the importance of the creative industries to regional economies. The creative industries are the second largest industry after the business services sector and the economy's fastest growing sector in London - employing more than half a million people (1 in 5 new jobs in the capital) and generating GBP 21 billion or 16% of London's Gross Value Added (GVA) annually.

Meanwhile, the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA) has created the first interactive map of the UK's creative industries as part of its research on Creative Clusters and Innovation. This study, published towards the end of 2010 in conjunction with the University of Cardiff and Birmingham, has sought to assess the impact of the creative industries to the economy and to local and regional innovation systems. The research identifies nine "hotspots" or concentrations of creative industries in addition to London. They are in Bath, Brighton, Bristol, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Guildford, Manchester, Oxford and Wycombe / Slough. Further information:

The contribution of the creative industries is also significant in rural areas - for example, a report entitled Building Creative Success shows that the creative industries in Devon generated GBP 900 million a year and employed 22 000+ people. However, there are concerns about whether this will be sustained once the Regional Development Agencies and Government Regional offices are abolished by the new UK Government.

There remains a key issue in terms of obtaining robust data and the government is looking at ways of improving data provision. In 2002, DCMS initiated the Regional Cultural Data Framework project to build a practical tool for gathering data on the sectors broadly covered by DCMS at a regional level for use by a wide range of practitioners. This comprehensive consultation process led to the development of the DCMS Evidence Toolkit (DET) - an online interactive web based toolkit for accessing and using information about the cultural sector. The data enables users to build a coherent evidence base on which to make policy for the cultural sector (including sport and tourism).


Creative Industries are one of the key sectors in the Scottish Government's economic strategy and are seen as contributing to the government's overall purpose of increasing sustainable economic growth. The sector in Scotland:

  • generated GBP 5.1 billion in revenue (2006) and GBP 2.2 billion in GVA;
  • accounted for GBP 1.1 billion in exports (2007), 5% of Scotland's international exports;
  • accounted for 62200 employee jobs (2007), up 3% from 2006.

The Scottish Government has been considering how support to creative industries can best be delivered. Its policy is that support should be delivered in partnership, with organisations responding according to skills, expertise and knowledge The Creative Industries Framework Agreement set out at a high level the complementary roles and responsibilities of the key public sector agencies (Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Creative Scotland and COSLA). Following its publication in February 2009, the Minister for External Affairs, Culture and the Constitution set up a time limited group to develop the operational detail of the Framework, and this is contained in Scotland's Creative Industries Partnership report published in June 2009.

The recommendations in the report seek to ensure that practitioners are at the centre of the process, with an engagement structure envisaged to give them a significant and credible voice and an opportunity to inform and influence policy. It seeks to ensure that the public sector is joined up, improving its knowledge and response to the sector, spotting opportunities and addressing barriers. It looks at how business support services can be improved and highlights the commitment of the enterprise agencies to nurturing and developing the sector. To ensure it is delivered effectively, monitoring and accountability have been built in.

The Framework Agreement can be found at:

Scotland's Creative Industries Partnership report can be found at:

In common with all parts of the economy, the creative industries in Scotland have been affected by the economic downturn. However, given its disparate nature it is difficult to tell what the overall effect will be on the sector. Business facing creative sectors such as advertising, architecture and software may be particularly vulnerable to the slowdown in activity. It is more uncertain how consumer facing industries will be affected. While consumers undoubtedly rein in spending in recessionary times, they may also be more likely to spend available money on more affordable entertainment forms. Output and employment statistics show a positive picture of recent performance. There was a small fall in output at the end of 2008, but year on year output was 10% higher in 2008 than 2007. Employment also increased by 3% between 2006 and 2007, while the number of enterprises registered (8 485 in 2008) has increased at a faster rate than the economy wide average over the last decade. The Scottish Government is driving forward its Economic Recovery Programme. Creative industries have an important part to play in the Programme's focus on innovation and industries of the future.


A GBP 7 million Wales Creative IP Fund has been established as part of the Welsh Assembly's strategy for the creative industries (defined as film, TV, new media and music). Through the Fund, Finance Wales acts as a "gap financier", offering finance (GBP 50 000-700 000) for productions, alongside money that has been already secured elsewhere. The intention is to stimulate growth in the creative industries and help them compete more effectively in their markets.

Northern Ireland

The Northern Ireland Executive has established a growing and innovative economy as its primary strategic objective in the Programme for Government. Within that, the increasing importance of the creative industries has been recognised, with a specific goal to grow the sector by up to 15% by 2011.

The Northern Ireland Creative Industries Strategic Action Plan establishes the main issues and opportunities for the growth of the creative industries in the region. It is a strategic approach designed to be flexible and robust and sets the policy context for the delivery of the GBP 5 million Creative Industries Innovation Fund. This Fund was launched, in October 2008, by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland (ACNI). This three-year funding programme supports projects that promote innovation in creative businesses across Northern Ireland. Creative businesses can apply for grants that support:

  • introduction of new creative content, products, services or experiences;
  • creation of new creative businesses;
  • development and growth of existing creative businesses;
  • networking, collaboration and co-operation between creative businesses;
  • development of linkages with national and international best practice networks;
  • developing exceptional creative talents;
  • taking creative talents out of traditional industries; and
  • internationalisation.

Chapter published: 15-04-2011

Your Comments on this Chapter?