New U.K. measures for creative industries

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LONDON -- The British government announced Friday (Feb. 22) a package of measures aimed at supporting the U.K.'s creative industries after months of consultation with reps from the industry here.

The plans, unveiled by Culture Secretary Andy Burnham, include plans to create 5,000 apprenticeships by 2013 to help people from all backgrounds work in film, television, music and arts industries.

Backers of the plan include the BBC, Universal Music Group and Tate Liverpool.

The plans also include the creation of the World Creative Business Conference billed as an annual event bringing together world leaders in the creative and financial sectors.

And the government has also pledged to take action on illegal file sharing by 2009, if the music industry fails to reach a voluntary solution, and is mulling new legal measures.

The report, entitled "Creative Britain: New Talents for the New Economy" marks the first ever comprehensive plan for government support for the creative industries in the U.K.

"The creative industries must move from the margins to the mainstream of economic and policy thinking, as we look to create the jobs of the future," said Culture Secretary Andy Burnham. "Our vision is of a Britain in 10 years time where the local economies in our biggest cities are driven by creativity. That's why we need a clear action plan for both government and industry to keep our competitive advantage."

Aardman Animations, EMI, and the Royal Opera House are among the first big name to sign up to help develop five "centers of excellence" in creative skills across the country.

The government also said it was committed to ensuring the U.K. is well placed to get up to speed for next generation broadband and remain competitive as a result.

Business and Competitiveness Minister Shriti Vadera said: "We must be ready to respond to future technological developments which will place unprecedented challenges for our communications networks over the coming decade. We need to prepare the way for the U.K. to adopt groundbreaking new technologies to ensure that we do not get left behind -- competitively or technologically."
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