Creative UK Group has published new data showing the impact of the pandemic on the Creative Industries and how the industries can lead UK recovery with the right investment.

Creative UK is the joint body of The Creative Industries Federation and Creative England.

The report The UK Creative Industries: unleashing the power and potential of creativity features newly commissioned data from Oxford Economics, which projects that, with the right investment, the sector could recover faster than the UK economy as a whole, growing by over 26% by 2025 and contributing £132.1 billion to the economy in GVA – over £28 billion more than in 2020, and more than the financial services, insurance and pension industries combined.
The data reveals that by 2025 the Creative Industries could create 300,000 new jobs, bouncing back from the impact of Covid-19 and surpassing pre-pandemic employment levels.

“This has huge ramifications for the UK,” said Creative UK Group CEO, Caroline Norbury MBE, “because the Creative Industries don’t just make themselves money, they support whole swathes of the UK economy. The government’s levelling up agenda cannot succeed without creativity.”

The new data shows that in addition to the 2.1 million jobs that existed in the Creative Industries prior to the pandemic, a further 1.4 million roles were directly supported by the sector through its supply chains: those businesses who supply goods or services to the creative sector. This makes a combined total of 3.5 million, or more than 1 in 10 UK jobs. This figure does not include creative jobs in other industries – e.g. designers for cars and phones – meaning that the true impact of the creative economy is set to be much larger still.

The new data also reveals that the Creative Industries are an even bigger driver of economic growth than previous figures suggested. Oxford Economics estimates that for every £1 the Creative Industries contributed prior to the pandemic, an extra 50p was generated in the wider economy through their supply chains. This makes a combined economic contribution of £178 billion. This is without accounting for the many industries that significantly benefit from the Creative Industries such as Tourism and Hospitality.

Caroline Norbury MBE, CEO, Creative UK Group, said: “The past decade has seen the Creative Industries achieve remarkable growth and success with the sector’s vast power to grow wealth and employment extending throughout local communities across the whole of the UK.

“With ambitious investment, the creative sector can rebuild faster than the UK economy and make a major contribution to the country’s post-pandemic recovery. We are money makers, job creators, innovators and problem solvers. We can reshape this country’s future for the better, but to realise our ambitions for tomorrow, we must invest in creativity today.

“We are not asking for handouts. We are asking for meaningful, targeted investment in creative ideas, creative industries and creative skills, that can unlock the incredible potential of the creative sector to kickstart our country’s recovery, and that will be repaid many times over.

“It is critical that we seize this opportunity to unlock the UK’s incredible creative potential, and avoid leaving key parts of our sector – and our country – behind.”

On the impact of Covid-19, the new figures reveal that key targeted UK, devolved and local government support measures, including the £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund, have been instrumental in preventing the 400,000 job losses that the Creative Industries Federation warned of in June 2020. The resilience of the sector has also been hugely impactful, with many creative businesses adapting their business models and finding new, innovative ways to engage with audiences and consumers. However, certain parts of the creative sector have still been hit disproportionately hard and without investment, risk being left behind.

In total, the Creative Industries are now estimated to have lost nearly £12 billion in GVA, with job losses expected to reach over 110,000 by the end of the year. Freelancers have been hit more than five times as hard as those on payroll, with 95,000 of the job losses projected to be freelance compared to 18,000 payroll employees. Creative subsectors reliant on footfall and audiences, such as Museums and Performing Arts, have been hit hardest, whilst the Creative Industries in the North East and Wales are projected to be slowest to return to pre-pandemic levels.

To accompany the report, the Creative UK Group have launched the #WeAreCreative campaign, encouraging creative people and businesses to show their power and potential to MPs and government officials on social media.

Sir Lenny Henry, said: “The global impact of the UK’s Creative Industries is unquestionable. People are sometimes surprised when I talk about the lengths my production company Douglas Road Productions goes to, to ensure that projects are properly funded. We work closely with support bodies to ensure that our projects are properly resourced through tax credits and financial aid, leaving us to get on with making the very best shows we possibly can. The collaboration on our latest film ‘My Name is Leon’ is testament to this.”

Jo Johnson, former Minister of State and Chair of Access Creative College, said: “The success of Brand Britain overseas is crucially intertwined with the global recognition of the UK’s creative dynamism. Across the entire economy, businesses are innovating, problem solving and generating value for our economy by fostering creativity and creative skills. This hasn’t gone unmissed by governments overseas. Our capacity to think creatively, bolstered through our renowned educational institutions, is our best soft power tool on the world stage.”

Dr Hayaatun Sillem CBE, Chief Executive, Royal Academy of Engineers, said:
In the rapidly changing world of work, creative skills are in increasing demand from employers, including in engineering industries. Endowing young people with the confidence and knowhow to create, innovate and collaborate is one of the best investments we can make in the next generation.

Karen Blackett, WPP UK Country Manager and GroupM UK CEO, said: “Our Creative Industries play an important role in contributing to the growth of the UK economy by creating jobs and prosperity for people and communities in every part of the country. Through investment, we can ensure that our world-leading creative sector is powered by people from every walk of life.”

The report is available to download from:

Jon Creamer

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