Leaving the European Union: Impact on the Creative Industries

This Lords Library briefing provides information on the potential impact of leaving the European Union on the creative industries.

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On 19 January 2017, the House of Lords will debate the impact of Britain’s planned withdrawal from the EU on the creative industries.

The creative industries in the UK account for a significant part of the UK economy. According to figures produced by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), the gross value added (GVA) for the creative industries was £84.1 billion, which accounted for 5.2 percent of the UK economy. The GVA for the creative economy—which includes the contribution of all those employed in the creative industries, as well as those who work in so-called creative occupations outside the creative industries—was worth £133.3 billion in 2014, accounting for 8.2 percent of the UK economy.

Following the results of the EU referendum, a number of commentators raised concerns about the potential impact of leaving the European Union on the UK’s creative industries, especially funding. Creative Europe was established by the EU in 2014 and is the European Commission’s framework programme to support the EU’s culture and audio-visual sectors. It has a €1.46 billion budget for the years 2014/20 with the UK receiving €40 million worth of grants over 2014 and 2015. However, with the UK set to leave the EU, its participation in this programme remains uncertain.

As the creative industries cover a wide variety of sectors, this Library briefing considers two areas of the creative industry in greater detail—the video game industry and the film industry. The Entertainment Retailers Association preliminary estimates found that video games sales in 2016 were worth around £2.9 billion and as of October 2016 there were 2,044 active games companies in the UK. Trade bodies for the industry are particularly concerned that leaving the EU could make it difficult for UK companies to recruit the talent it needs. Similarly, the film and television market was worth an estimated £4.1 billion in 2015. A number of commentators have expressed concern about the potential loss of funding for the film industry from the EU’s Creative Europe programme, although others have argued that the UK’s exit presents opportunities for the British film market.

On 16 September 2016, the House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee launched an inquiry on the impact of leaving the EU on the creative industries, tourism and the digital single market.

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