As you probably know, the creative sector has suffered greatly during the coronavirus outbreak and subsequent lockdowns imposed by the government.
The Creative UK Group have recently released a report, titled ‘The UK Creative Industries: unleashing the power and potential of creativity’, which discusses the economic impact of the pandemic on the creative industry.
According to this document, creative industries have suffered around £12 billion in lost growth during the pandemic. On top of this, they have predicted that more than 110,000 people will have lost their jobs as a result of the coronavirus outbreak by the end of 2021.
However, despite the difficulties it has faced, the creative sector could prove to be a key driving force in the UK’s economic recovery post-pandemic. Read on to find out the importance of the creative sector to the national economy and how it can help it to recover.
According to figures from Oxford Economics, around 3.5 million jobs in the UK were directly or indirectly supported by creative industries prior to the pandemic. This is a significant amount, making up more than 10% of the country’s total workforce.
Furthermore, the Creative UK Group claim that “for every 10 jobs in the creative industry, a further 7 were supported through the supply chain”. This is because the sector has a wide variety of support industries, including hospitality, production, logistics, and more.
Prior to the pandemic, Oxford Economics estimate that for every £1 the creative sector generated, it also created an additional 50p in the wider economy.
In fact, the creative sector was performing so well that, prior to March 2020, it was growing at four times the rate of the UK economy and creating three times more jobs than the UK average.
The pandemic has been a difficult time for the creative sector for several reasons, but primarily because theatres, cinemas, and museums across the country were forced to close for months on end. This meant that many industries lost important sources of income.
Thankfully, financial support from the government has helped to mitigate some of the worst effects of the pandemic in recent months.
In 2020, the government set up the Culture Recovery Fund, which offered £1.57 billion to help support struggling businesses in the creative sector. On top of this, in the chancellor’s spring Budget, reported by the Guardian, Rishi Sunak announced a further £300 million to be added to this.
In the Creative UK Group report, professor Ian Fribbance of the Open University was quoted as saying that “the UK is well-known for the success of its creative industries, but risks getting left behind in the post-pandemic world without supportive action to ‘build back better’”.
As such, they are calling for further investment into three key areas:
The group believe that, with these investments, the creative industry has the potential to recover faster than the general UK economy. They think it entirely possible for the sector to grow by more than 25% by 2025 and contribute an additional £132.1 billion to the economy in the process.
During this period, development in the creative sector could also create about 300,000 new jobs, which would surpass even pre-Covid employment levels for UK-based creatives.
Despite these hopeful predictions, many businesses in the sector remain apprehensive about the future and it’s easy to understand why. Despite the prime minister’s insistence that the UK would not need another lockdown this winter, the recent spike in cases has worried many people.
If cases continue to rise, the government may be forced to reintroduce lockdown restrictions again. According to a recent poll by the Independent, around 40% of Brits would support this decision, given the possibility of the NHS being overwhelmed as we enter flu season.
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