Now is a pivotal time for the UK to remain competitive in the creative and cultural industries.
Our vibrant sector can supercharge the economy, continuing to create jobs and investment in Britain, but for this to happen, we need a step-change in policy to unleash the UK’s creative potential, starting with cutting studio business rates in the upcoming Spring Budget.
The UK creative industries have long played a crucial part in driving our economy and there is huge appetite for British cultural content around the world.
Cécile Frot-Coutaz, head of Sky Studios, believes the the UK needs a plan to remain competitive in the creative industries in 2024
International demand for British TV and film exports is set to grow by 50 per cent by 2033, as the UK continues to command a disproportionate share of the international market.
Hollywood blockbusters are increasingly filmed in Britain, with global productions like the upcoming Wicked movies choosing to shoot here thanks to our strong tax incentives, highly-skilled crews and world-class production facilities like the newly opened Sky Studios Elstree. Indeed, the UK is soon set to have more film studios than Hollywood itself.
International appetite for British creativity is matched by a clear vision from our industry to flex the UK’s media and entertainment strength.
In recent research, we found the sector could be worth an extra ten billion per year by 2033, contributing a significant £53 billion to the UK economy, more than double the UK’s car manufacturing sector.
To reach that point our industry and the UK Government must work together to invest in innovation, skills and key infrastructure.
Boosting innovation is crucial, and to fully reap the economic, social and creative benefits of a strong media and entertainment industry, the UK needs to remain a compelling place to do business.
So a new innovation impact test would set a high bar for any additional regulation, and would help to keep the UK competitive globally.
Further, acute skills shortages across the UK economy need to be tackled. We need to ensure there is a trained pipeline of talent to fill roles of the future, for example within the newly emerging trend of virtual production.
Dedicated digital skills training and expanding the scope of the Apprenticeship Levy to include broader retraining and retention across the workforce can help to address the challenge.
Thinking about inward investment, our studio space policy is crucial. For British content to thrive – at home and abroad – the Government needs to ensure business rates on studios remain competitive.
Compared to other sectors the proposed increases would make them an outlier and that puts the future success of original British film and TV at risk.
The UK has done lots of the right things to help creative industries thrive – but to stay competitive and drive productions to film here, it’s time for politicians to shout ‘Cut!’ on studio business rates, or we risk losing what could be a vital boost to the UK economy.
If we seize this opportunity, this could supercharge the UK as a powerhouse for TV and film – the jewel in the crown of our economy.