Northern Ireland

Creative industries get £77 million funding boost

The creative industries will get a £77 million funding boost under Government plans to help the sector go “from strength to strength” (PA)
The creative industries will get a £77 million funding boost under Government plans to help the sector go “from strength to strength” (PA)

The creative industries will get a £77 million funding boost under Government plans to help the sector go “from strength to strength”.

The investment is part of the Government’s aim to grow the sector – which Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer described as the UK’s “global advert for the world” – by £50 billion and create a million more jobs by 2030.

Some £50 million of the newly announced pot will support six more “creative clusters” – groups of creative businesses linked with universities in cities across the UK.

They will be chosen in addition to the nine existing clusters, which include one helping screen and performance firms in Bristol and Bath adapt to emerging technologies, and one promoting data-driven innovation among creative entrepreneurs in Edinburgh.

A programme helping creative start-ups scale up and turn entrepreneurs into business leaders will get nearly £11 million added to its budget.

More money will also go towards around 400 grassroots music venues, new video games studios, London Fashion Week and helping emerging British musicians make it abroad, the Treasury said.

The Government also announced that research labs will be based in Yorkshire, Dundee, Belfast and Buckinghamshire to develop advanced screen technology and virtual production techniques for film and stage, with the programme expected to generate 820 new jobs.

Graham Norton Show – London
Adele is an example of a ‘British success story’, Rishi Sunak said (PA)

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: “The creative industries are a true British success story, from global music stars like Adele and Ed Sheeran to world-class cultural institutions like the National Theatre.

“These industries have a special place in our national life and make a unique contribution to how we feel about ourselves as a country.

“We want to build on this incredible success to drive growth in our economy – one of my key priorities – and to ensure that UK creative industries continue to lead the world long into the future.”

The new cash builds on the £230 million in Government spending on the sector since 2021, according to the Treasury.

Funding for a scheme that provides grants to help British artists break into overseas markets – whose past recipients include Wolf Alice, Dave and Catfish and the Bottlemen – will be expanded to £3.2 million over the next two years.

“The creative industries is our global advert for the world and so exporting is really important,” Culture Secretary Ms Frazer told reporters in Westminster.

She sought to assuage industry concerns that post-Brexit red tape has made touring more difficult, saying: “With most of the countries in the EU we’ve come to bilateral arrangements where you can tour now for up to 90 days.”

But she conceded that “we need to continue to look at that to see how we can facilitate movement even further”.

Ford Gaming Transit Van
The UK games industry has been described as an engine of economic growth (PA)

The UK Games Fund will receive £5 million more in cash to help video gaming studios grow and attract private investment into the industry, which Ms Frazer described as an “innovation tool for other sectors” as technologies used in gaming have been applied to medicine.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said: “It’s quite difficult to really say whether gaming should count as being in the tech industry or the creative industries, because it’s got both.”

He also said “there’s increasing overlap between creative industries and technology”, pointing to film and TV being “incredibly tech-heavy now”.

Mr Hunt, who spoke at this week’s London Tech Week, said the creative industries are classed as one of the UK’s five biggest-growth sectors in the Government’s industrial strategy because “it’s not just important in its own right, but it strengthens our offer in other areas like technology”.

The Government also aims to build a pipeline of creative skills, including by increasing apprenticeships and publishing a cultural education plan later this year.

Ms Frazer said the vision, developed with the industry, “is helping the UK creative sectors go from strength to strength – providing jobs and opportunities, creating world-leading content and supporting economic growth across the country”.

She also told journalists: “What our funding is doing is a number of things. It’s inspiring young kids at primary school that this is a sector they may want to go into. It’s doing something on T-levels and apprenticeships to make sure that those work because they’re not working as they should do for the sector as a whole.

“And then it’s giving this seed money to enable founders to become CEOs. And then once you’ve got an established company, it’s making this growth in clusters across the country, and then retaining the world-class export status that we have through the things that we’re doing on exports as well.

“So it’s helping the industry from your first day at school to your last day at work, regionally and internationally.”