John Whittingdale, U.K. Minister of State at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, has unveiled his vision for the sector on the back of the British government’s ambitious plans to grow the creative industries by £50 billion ($63 billion).
So far this year, films made in Britain have taken audiences from the depths of the ocean (Disney’s “The Little Mermaid”) and into different dimensions (Marvel’s “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania”). U.K. visual effects pioneers continue to bring creatures and worlds beyond our wildest imaginations to life on big screens across the globe. And there is more to come from U.K. studios before 2023 is out, including anticipated titles such as Greta Gerwig’s “Barbie,” “The Flash” and the next instalment of “Mission: Impossible.”
The U.K.’s film and high end TV sectors are stronger than ever — the screen industry contributed £17.4 billion to the economy in 2021 and employs over 140,000 people. Production spend hit record levels last year and the amount of U.K. studio space is set to double by 2025. Hundreds of roles, from sound mixers to set decorators, are unseen by audiences but essential behind the camera. Developments in technology are creating jobs that some people might not know even exist yet.
As the minister responsible for the creative industries, I often hear about the difficulties they face trying to find people with the technical skills these exciting roles require. And yet I also know that there are countless people across the country who don’t believe a creative career is open to them, or possible because of where they live. It’s a huge challenge, and one the government is committed to tackling through the Creative Industries Sector Vision.
Today we have published our plan to take the creative industries into the next decade, supporting one million extra jobs in industries like film and television and adding an extra £50 billion to the economy by 2030. Our vision sets out how we will deliver a creative careers promise for the British people: we will open up opportunities so that anyone can make their dreams of a job in a creative industry a reality.
We’re backing up our ambitions with over £77 million in new funding, investing further in major projects to help creative industries thrive throughout the U.K.. This builds on more than £233 million already invested by the Government in the sectors over the past two years, including our competitive tax reliefs to attract creative companies to the U.K.
We know that creative businesses grow quicker in ‘clusters,’ geographic regions where firms thrive through competition and collaboration. You only have to look at Wales to see this in action, where the region around Cardiff is home to over 1,300 audiovisual media companies as well as the Welsh arm of the National Film and Television School which has industry partnerships with local TV and indie film companies.
We want to see this success replicated in more parts of the country, so you don’t have to leave where you live to get the job you want. That’s why we’re extending programs that help businesses thrive in their local area.
We’re also creating the largest network of visual production facilities in Europe so that the U.K. stays ahead of cutting edge technology. Four new state-of-the-art research and development facilities – including a network of regional labs in West Yorkshire, Dundee and Belfast – will ensure we have the right skills and infrastructure to make the whole of the U.K. a leading destination for the latest virtual production techniques across film, TV, video games and live performance.
We will tackle barriers that hold people back from accessing creative skills and training at all stages of their career and we’ll make sure technical qualifications and programs like T Levels* and apprenticeships are right for the world of creative work.
None of this can be achieved without continued support from industry, which is why we collaborated with leading organisations and the Creative Industries Council to set these goals for 2030.
Together we will help the next generation of cutting-edge creatives succeed and put our screen sectors in pole position to tackle the challenges of the next decade.
*T Levels focus on vocational skills and can help students into skilled employment, higher study or apprenticeships.