'We Must Help Creative Industries Get Voice on World Stage'

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Byline: EMMA WATKINS THE LONG VIEW

THE creative industries are often overlooked when the economy is discussed but the sector is a central part of the UK's global appeal and underpins a thriving creative economy. Wales can boast BBC shows such as Doctor Who and Sherlock and a strong contribution to the music industry, from the Stereophonics to Tom Jones.

Companies ranging from Tinopolis and Boomerang to JoJo Maman Bebe and Howies have found the sector to be fertile ground for growth.

Indeed, the sector was one of the fastest growing in Wales between 2009-2011 with employment growing by 16%. It is clear that Wales, as part of a UK-drive, has the potential to cement our position as the world's leading creative hub provided we take steps now to build on existing progress and ensure that all the underlying industries involved have the foundations in place for longterm success.

British culture and creativity is at the forefront of the UK's global appeal, driving our culture and creativity is at the forefront of the UK's place as a leading destination for foreign direct investment.

These creative industries make a vital contribution to the economy with strengths in key areas including music, broadcasting, video games and fashion. Together, they account for 10.6% of the UK's exports and 1.5m jobs.

The UK boasts the largest broadcasting hub in Europe, the leading online advertising market in Europe, one of the world's largest music industries in terms of exports and the fastest growing digital economy in the G20.

In the CBI's report Playing Our Strongest Hand, we called on governments in Wales and Westminster to spearhead a new approach to industrial strategy to support sectors of the economy where the UK has particular strengths and high-growth potential.

We identified the creative industries as a key sector to get behind. Since then, the UK government has been busy working in partnership with business to develop a number of sector strategies for some of our high-potential sectors, as well as taking action to create the conditions that support all businesses to invest and grow.

In Wales the Welsh Government offers a wide range of support to the creative sector, from the Alpha Fund which helps grassroots talent to the Digital Development Fund and Media Antenna Wales that both help businesses plug-in to the global e-business market. Now, at both ends of the M4, we need to take steps to secure the future global competitiveness of the UK's creative industries through closer government and business collaboration.

The fact is that, unlike some sectors of the economy, the UK's creative industries are found in every region and nation of the UK and are thriving in a number of 'creative hubs', such as the BBC and the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff, the Titanic Quarter in Belfast and Media-CityUK in Salford.

In these regional clusters, larger organisations and multinationals form networks with a wide range of smaller creative firms across a range of sectors, in order to attract talent and generate new ideas. Beyond these direct benefits generated by particular sectors, broader creative services also add value across the economy. …