Creative Industry in Wales Struggles for Commercial Success

Article excerpt

Byline: By David Williamson Western Mail

The potential of the creative industries to generate wealth in the Welsh economy is going to waste, a major new study warns.

An analysis of value and productivity in this sector shows Wales lagging behind almost every other region of the UK.

The deficit is particularly acute in the arts, where the value generated per employee is almost pounds 15,000 per annum below the UK average.

Despite the commercial success of high-profile Welsh recording artists such as Tom Jones and the Manic Street Preachers, the home-grown music industry is also at the bottom of the regional league table.

Across the sector - which also includes the categories of advertising, design, craft and cultural heritage - only one region of England is shown as performing worse than Wales.

The creative industries in both Scotland and Northern Ireland are shown to be significantly more productive.

The data is revealed in new research by Creative & Cultural Skills, part of the employer-led UK Sector Skills Council, which today launches a detailed action plan aimed at closing skills gaps and improving economic performance in the creative industries.

It found the creative industries generate pounds 454m a year in Wales. This means each individual in the sector injects an average of pounds 25,000 into the economy - this represents only 74% of the UK average.

The report claims workers in Wales are roughly half as productive as those in London.

These figures do not take into account film, television and digital media, which are already targeted for special assistance by the Welsh Assembly Government.

Miles Fletcher, director of communications for Creative & Cultural Skills, said, 'These figures show in stark detail the scale of the challenge facing the creative and cultural sector in Wales.

'Across the UK, the creative industries are growing much faster than the economy as a whole and are becoming a vital source of high-quality employment, especially for graduates.

'There's certainly no shortage of creative ability in Wales. But much more can be done to harness such conspicuous talent and develop a vibrant creative economy here. …