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REED boss predicts Brexit boost for Brand Britain

Dawn of golden age for creative industries: REED boss predicts Brexit boost for Brand Britain

  • James Reed said that with vaccines and the lifting of lockdowns, ‘the lights will go back on in London and our other cities’
  • As well as foreseeing a renaissance for creative industries, he says the jobs market, hard-hit by Covid, will bounce back this year
  •  Reed said Brexit has put a global spotlight on the UK

A wave of creativity will be unleashed this year in industry and the arts in a major boost for ‘Brand Britain’, one of the country’s top businessmen has said. 

James Reed, the chairman of leading recruitment firm REED, said that with vaccines and the lifting of lockdowns, ‘the lights will go back on in London and our other cities’. 

‘This will release creative energy. New artists will emerge and there will be a golden age of theatre and music,’ he added. ‘And all the brilliant ideas germinated in lockdown can be brought to fruition.’ 

Optimistic: James Reed, the chairman of leading recruitment firm REED, says the jobs market will bounce back

As well as foreseeing a renaissance for creative industries, he says the jobs market, hard-hit by Covid, will bounce back this year. 

‘I feel optimistic on the basis of our own data. I hope everyone who wants a job will have one in 2021,’ he said. 

Reed said Brexit has put a global spotlight on the UK. This will draw attention to ‘Brand Britain’ and could enhance the way our goods and services are perceived overseas. 

This would benefit British firms and products from Rolls-Royce aero-engines to Scotch whiskies and help promote export sales. 

‘Britain as a brand will be more distinctive than it was before,’ he said. ‘This is an opportunity for UK businesses but it will also have an impact in areas such as sport, culture and the arts. British voices, British products and British services will stand out.’ 

Reed, once a Remainer, added: ‘People will be watching and listening. Some will want Britain to fail, but Britain won’t fail and this in itself will raise more questions about the future of Europe.’ 

Creative industries play a serious part in the UK economy, accounting for up to 10 per cent of output in normal times. 

Helping hand: The Big Give charity campaign is backed by former ballerina Darcey Bussell

Helping hand: The Big Give charity campaign is backed by former ballerina Darcey Bussell

Reed chairs the Big Give charity campaign, which supports good causes including access to the arts, and is backed by former ballerina Darcey Bussell. The creative sector has been hard hit by job losses in the pandemic as cinemas, galleries and playhouses have been forced to shut their doors. It has been one of the worst affected areas, along with retail and hospitality. 

‘I come from a family of entrepreneurs and artists. My grandfather Leonard Reed was a lithographic artist who worked in HM Stationery Office on propaganda posters including Keep Calm and Carry On during the Second World War. 

‘There is a lot of pent-up creative energy looking for an outlet in business and the arts.’ 

Reed also predicts the wider jobs market will spring back to life this year. 

He points to a shortage of skilled workers in key areas such as health, technology and social care, which will push up wages in those sectors.

Leaving the EU means there is ‘scope to modernise and improve labour market rules’ so that more jobs can be created in the UK, he said. 

Inflexible European regulations are often blamed for making it very difficult to fire staff, which in turn is said to make employers reluctant to take on new workers. 

The UK’s level of unemployment, still under 5 per cent, has remained much lower during Covid-19 than the EU at 8.4 per cent. 

Reed, 57, said another reason for his optimism is that his daughter Rosie has just given birth to his first grandchild. ‘I am predicting a lockdown baby boom that will boost the economy and it is already underway.’ 



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