U.K. Creative Industries Get $212M Funding Boost to Strengthen Global Competitiveness
"Britain’s creative industries are an economic and cultural powerhouse, and this ambitious deal will make sure they continue to thrive as we build a Britain fit for the future," says culture secretary Matt Hancock.
British political and entertainment industry representatives on Wednesday unveiled that more than £150 million ($212 million) will be jointly invested by the government and industry "to help the country’s world-leading cultural and creative businesses thrive" under a landmark sector deal.
Britain’s creative industries are worth £92 billion ($130 billion), employ 2 million people and are growing twice as fast as the rest of the economy, they said.
The deal was unveiled by U.K. digital and culture secretary Matt Hancock, business secretary Greg Clark and co-chair of the Creative Industries Council Nicola Mendelsohn. While Brexit wasn't mentioned, industry players have emphasized the need for continued government investment in and support of the creative sector ahead of Britain's exit from the European Union next year.
"The sector deal aims to double Britain’s share of the global creative immersive content market by 2025, which is expected to be worth over £30 billion ($42 billion) by 2025," they said. "To seize on the opportunity of this expanding market, government is investing over £33 million ($47 million) in immersive technologies, such as virtual reality video games, interactive art shows and augmented reality experiences in tourism," among other things.
The government's goal is to double inward investment in U.K. film and TV production, from Hollywood studios and others, from more than £2 billion ($2.8 billion) last year to £4 billion ($5.7 billion) or more by 2025.
Said Hancock: "Britain’s creative industries are an economic and cultural powerhouse and this ambitious deal will make sure they continue to thrive as we build a Britain fit for the future. Our creative industries will help develop the talent of the future, ensure people are rightly rewarded for their creative content and give our firms the support they need to compete on the global stage. Millions of people around the world enjoy our world-class artistic and cultural output, and we want Britain to stay a frontrunner in these vibrant sectors."
In a statement, the organizations behind the sector deal said: "The creative industries already export substantially more than their share of the economy, and growth at home will also help power the sector to make further strides abroad."
The London Screen Academy, a new free school based in the London neighborhood of Islington with places for 1,000 students aged 16-plus from across the capital, will also be formed, among other initiatives. It is set to open in September 2019.
Josh Berger, president and managing director, Warner Bros. U.K. and chair of the British Film Institute, said about the deal: "Incredible crews, fantastic facilities and the government’s direct and continuing support for the creative industries — through organizations such as the BFI, and now the sector’s formal inclusion in the industrial strategy — are crucial to a thriving production industry in the U.K."
He added: "Warner Bros’ experience in the U.K. has been such a positive one, from developing state-of-the-art facilities and helping train the next generation of creative talent, to the entire business of producing our films here. We have been investing in the U.K. for many years because for us this country is, alongside Hollywood, the best place in the world to make movies."