Govt backs creative industry growth

The government has unveiled proposals to achieve its goal of making the economies of Britain’s biggest cities become “driven by creativity”

Culture secretary Andy Burnham said the government wanted to help the creative industries move to “the mainstream of economic and policy thinking” as he announced the cross-departmental strategy this morning.

Speaking from Pinewood Studios in Buckinghamshire, Mr Burnham announced plans to provide 5,000 apprenticeships for young people across the creative industries by 2013.

New ‘centres of excellence’ in creative skills will be established, like the Royal Opera House and EMI, while a 14-25 ‘academic hub’ bringing educational institutions together will also be prioritised.

“We want to take raw talent, nurture it, and give people the best possible chance of building a successful business,” Mr Burnham said.

“Now is the time to recognise the growing success story that is Britain’s creative economy and build on it.”

The strategy features 26 commitments, including one to pursue a statutory solution to illegal filesharing to protect intellectual property by 2009 if a voluntary agreement cannot be reached before then.

An independent review of next-generation broadband and plans for a world creative business conference have also been announced.

“We need to prepare the way for the UK to adopt groundbreaking new technologies to ensure that we do not get left behind – competitively or technologically,” business and competitiveness minister Shriti Vadera said, explaining the need to assess Britain’s broadband prospects.

Liberal Democrat culture spokesperson Don Foster expressed concern about the lack of funding details contained in the government’s strategy.

“If Labour are serious about supporting this rapidly growing part of the economy, they must now provide clear details of where the funding will come from to convince everyone that this is more than just a well-meaning wishlist,” he commented.

Britain’s creative industries currently contribute £60 billion to the UK economy.