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Creative Industries Federation
January 17, 2017

The Prime Minister has today laid out her plans for the next two years with useful clarity. As a sector that has always been international in outlook, we welcome the vision of a global Britain.

But we believe that there are issues that will need to be addressed in the forthcoming negotiations if the UK’s arts and creative industries are to continue to fulfil their potential.

The creative industries are the fastest growing sector of the UK economy with the capacity to deliver further jobs and growth and a major component in the “soft power” which the Prime Minister quite rightly highlighted with pride. It is a sector that should be mentioned as frequently and readily as science and tech and we will be working hard to make sure it is given the priority it warrants in the negotiations ahead.

John Kampfner, chief executive of the Creative Industries Federation, said: “For nearly a decade, the creative industries have been the fastest-growing sector of the UK economy, contributing to all aspects of UK politics, diplomacy and regional development and billions to the economy. 

“Given the potential for jobs and growth, it is essential that the requirements of this most dynamic of sectors is central to the negotiations in the difficult two years ahead.”

The Federation welcomes the Prime Minister’s recognition of the urgent need for a reciprocal arrangement with the EU on its nationals working in the UK and those British citizens currently employed in the EU. 

As in science and tech, movement of talent in the creative industries has been a critical component in the expansion and success of the sector and we have benefited enormously from the skills and insight EU workers have brought.

However, the willingness to continue to welcome the “brightest and best” begs the question as to how that will be interpreted in future as the UK updates its outdated immigration system. Such judgements can be difficult to determine not least because, despite many well-paid workers in the creative sector, talent is not always commensurate with salary.

There are also some specific skills gaps which will need to be recognised and addressed, including the importance of freelances. 

We understand the logic of the decision of a Government that prioritises controlling borders above all else to leave the single market. But it does make a sector-by-sector approach to trade particularly critical. The trade negotiations with the EU will need to include consideration of the digital single market, free flow of data and issues of tariff and non-tariff barriers if the creative industries are to continue to prosper. 

While the creative sector is already looking to embrace new markets, 42 per cent of current creative service exports go to the EU - the largest proportion of any of the UK’s trading partners in 2014 - and 57 per cent to Europe and these will remain important while the new deals are struck. Any future trade agreements for our sector will have to take into account the importance of effective intellectual property rights protection and enforcement if we are to reap the financial benefits.

There are some European research and cultural programmes that have been identified as bringing major benefit to the UK so we would welcome a discussion on paying to be able to continue to participate in some of them.

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