Image Gradient
BOP Consulting Logo | HomeButton
image gradient

Download Project Report

VIEW PDF

We probably all have our own frustrations with the general election. BOP’s Douglas Lonie does. At the Creative Industries Federation debate, he felt that the consensus around the importance of the creative and cultural industries fell far short of the critical thinking we need in this policy area.


The undoubted reason for the lip service paid by politicians is the impressive Creative Industries Economic Estimates published annually by DCMS: 1 in 12 UK jobs in the creative economy. 5 percent of UK GVA and nearly 9 per cent of service exports coming from the creative industries. But in reality these figures are problematic. Going beyond lip service, to producing new and innovative policy ideas, relies in part on having some robust data about the real contribution of this sector.


Digging into the detail of the estimates reveals some challenges. For example, the Gross Value Added contribution of crafts declined in absolute terms between 1997 and 2013. Over the same period, the growth in the contribution from publishing, as well as film, TV, video, radio and photography, was slower than the economy as a whole. By contrast, IT, software and computer services expanded to be responsible 46% of the GVA attributed to the creative industries by 2013 (up from 32 per cent in 1997). So nearly half of the GVA of the creative industries, it seems, is attributable to a sector not traditionally defined as part of these industries.


There are grounds to query some of these numbers. In respect of crafts, DCMS concede that there are difficulties making estimates about the sector “due to weaknesses in the classifications that official data are based on”. The same concerns in relation to the music industry motivated UK Music to commission the research on music’s economic contribution that I have led in recent years. Similar research has also been undertaken by the Crafts Council. For these industries, improvements to the underlying classification systems would help representative bodies and government better track economic change.


Not all parts of the creative economy are let down by the classification system though, so in the main we need to confront what the data tells us. That is: long-term growth by some celebrated parts of the creative industries (publishing, film, TV, video, radio and photography) has been disappointing, and somewhat masked by the impressive overall performance of the creative industries, inflated by the strength of IT, software and computer services.


As much as only dismal scientists look at the economic contribution of the creative industries in isolation from cultural and social value, grappling with and acting upon the economic details revealed in the data, which do not tell same story of unadulterated success as the headline figures, should be part of the next government going beyond lip service.

Going beyond lip service on the economics of creativity

From the desk of the Chief Economist: Jonathan Todd argues that we need to confront what the data about creative industries really reveals.

Apr 22, 2015

Green Cities helping climate change through culture and sustainability

Nov 4, 2021

How are major cities around the world responding to climate change through cultural policies and programmes?

The Green World Cities of Tomorrow: Culture and Sustainability

Paul Owens

Culture and the Climate Emergency

Apr 22, 2021

5 Priorities for World Cities in the post-covid recovery period

Culture and the Climate Emergency

Paul Owens

Culture and the Recovery: Levelling Up Culture?

Dec 4, 2020

Culture can play an important role in recovery and renewal across the UK, if the right local decision-making is put in place

Culture and the Recovery: Levelling Up Culture?

Callum Lee

Central London’s celebrated

Sep 23, 2020

This focused, coordinated set of measures can not only rescue the sector, but position it to lead the recovery

Central London’s celebrated cultural offer is in peril

Jonathan Todd

COVID-19: Government support packages for culture and creative industries #3

Aug 21, 2020

Three big questions as applications close for Arts Council England’s Cultural Recovery Fund

COVID-19: Government support packages for culture and creative industries #3

Paul Owens

COVID-19: Government support packages for culture and creative industries #2

Jul 30, 2020

The UK’s £1.57 billion recovery package: priorities for a New Deal

COVID-19: Government support packages for culture and creative industries #2

Paul Owens

COVID-19: Cities, Culture and the 3 ‘P’s: powers, partnerships, place

Jul 20, 2020

Cities are using their unique capabilities to lead recovery and renewal

COVID-19: Cities, Culture and the 3 ‘P’s: powers, partnerships, place

Paul Owens

COVID-19: Government support packages for culture and creative industries #1

Jul 7, 2020

Investing in recovery, planning for transformation

COVID-19: Government support packages for culture and creative industries #1

Paul Owens

COVID-19 is a triple blow to culture and the creative industries

Jun 30, 2020

Recovery and renewal will depend on how we address the three dimensions of the crisis

COVID-19 is a triple blow to culture and the creative industries

Paul Owens

Take planning and collaboration to whole a new level.

Jun 3, 2020

In the face of radical uncertainty leaders and policy-makers will have to take planning and collaboration to whole a new level

‘Plans are useless, planning is essential’

Paul Owens

Relief, Recovery and Renewal

May 13, 2020

Nobody knows what will happen next, but we have a good idea of the three necessary steps out of the crisis

Relief, Recovery and Renewal: navigating our way to a new kind of future

Paul Owens

The Golden Thread in the 2020s

Dec 20, 2019

A cause for optimism

Weaving the Golden Thread into the 2020s

Paul Owens

Related Articles

By BOP Consulting

Jonathan Todd

Chief Economist

Jonathan is an economist with over a decade’s experience in impact assessment and evaluation, and high-level policy experience, particularly within the cultural and creative sectors.

Jonathan Todd - Chief Economist | BOP Consulting

Planning a new project?

If you are interested to learn more about our work or if you have a project you would like to discuss, get in touch.

SHARE ARTICLE
Jonathan Todd

Jonathan Todd

Chief Economist