Wednesday 5 August 2020 12:03 pm

Lords urge government to protect UK creative industries in post-Brexit trade deal

A House of Lords committee has written to the culture secretary demanding clarification on how a post-Brexit trade deal will affect the UK’s “overlooked” creative industries, as Britain edges towards the Brexit transition period deadline. 

In a letter to Oliver Dowden, the House of Lords EU Services sub-committee urged the government to provide a comprehensive update on the government’s efforts to secure an agreement with the EU that supports the UK’s creative industries.

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It added that Britain’s creative sector is “often overlooked in the bigger picture of the UK-EU relationship”.

The letter highlighted that the UK’s creative industries are growing at more than twice the rate of the British economy, generating upwards of £100bn each year.

The sector, which employs more than 2m people in the UK, also produces more than £30bn in service exports each year, the letter noted.

“The creative industries form an important part of the cultural fabric of the UK. They shape our national conversations, help build social capital and are an important part of our soft power internationally.

“What arrangements is the government seeking to negotiate to mitigate potential future barriers for these services?” the peers said.

It urged the government to provide information on whether creative professionals will be able to travel freely around Europe after the UK officially leaves the bloc on 1 January 2021.

Musicians have warned that Brexit will kill off EU tours, with 71 per cent of more than 600 artists surveyed by the Incorporated Society of Musicians saying bookings had already dried up.

The cross-party group of peers also demanded clarity over whether the UK will still be eligible to benefit from EU creative funding schemes post-Brexit, and whether the government has plans to replace EU funding for film and broadcasting.

It comes as the UK’s creative sector has been battered by the pandemic, as social distancing measures continue to weigh on bottom lines as venues slowly re-emerge from months of lockdown. 

Industry figures have warned that the chancellor’s injection of £1.54bn in emergency support for the sector will do little to assure survival in the long run.

Creative industries will be hit twice as hard by coronavirus as the UK economy overall, according to a study by Oxford Economics. 

Revenues for the sector are forecast to drop by £74bn in 2020 — a 30 per cent fall year on year — while job losses are predicted to hit more than 400,000, as theatres, cinemas and performing arts venues have been forced to shutter for more than five months.

Industry figures have warned that reviving the UK’s creative industries will be vital to Britain’s economic strength post-Brexit.

Britain’s culture sector is disproportionately valuable for its residents compared to its population, according to data from Music by Numbers.

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France’s music industry is worth €867m in a country of 70m, while Germany’s is worth €1.4bn to its 90m people.

The UK’s cultural sector on the other hand is worth £5.2bn in a country of 67m — four times  more than Britain’s hotly-debated fishing industry. 

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