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Government announces £16m funding package to build British creative skills

Business secretary Vince Cable pledged £16m of state cash to develop skills in the creative sector at the launch of a new business strategy for the industry last night (July 2).

The funding was announced at the launch of Create UK which is a cross-government and industry strategy to boost growth in the creative industries and double exports from the sector by 2020.

Retailers including John Lewis and designers such as Anya Hindmarch were at the launch, hosted by Facebook at its London headquarters. The event included speeches from Vince Cable and culture minister Sajid Javid.

The strategy states there are five key factors needed to improve the financial growth of the UK’s creative industries: increasing education and skills, creating greater access to finance for new businesses, improving infrastructure, imposing intellectual property laws and boosting international exports.

Exports in particular are of vital importance to the sector, it adds. The strategy will seek to double the value of exports from the UK’s creative industries from £15.5bn in 2011 to £31bn in 2020.

Other businesses have highlighted the importance of exports this week. DHL is investing £156m into its UK operations in response to increased demand for UK products from overseas.  

UK creative industries generate £71bn in revenue each year and support 1.71 million jobs. The annual sales growth of the sector surpasses the growth of any other UK industry sector, Cable said last night.

Speaking at the launch, he added the creative industries “have played a big part in driving our economic recovery.

“We want this sector to continue to thrive so it’s important that government and industry keep working together to foster the right environment for creative industries to succeed.”

Facebook’s EMEA vice president and council co-chair Nicola Mendelsohn warned government rhetoric must be backed up by investment in the sector. “The sector plays a significant role in the economy and how the UK is viewed on the global stage, but we are trading in an increasingly competitive marketplace and cannot take our position for granted. Government should now make the creative industries one of its official industrial strategy sectors.”

The full Create UK report and strategy can be found at www.thecreativeindustries.co.uk

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