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A view from Birmingham and the West Midlands Devolution and the development of a ‘Midlands Engine for Growth’ are due to raise regional output by almost £30bn over the next 10 years: for Birmingham, the EU provides crucial support for this agenda by building the city’s infrastructure. The city was a microcosm of how European funding has affected every sector, from Erasmus+ and Horizon 2020 at the universities, to ERDF money for the redevelopment of the Birmingham Hippodrome, to backing the publicly-supported and commercial sectors for festivals, performances and the city’s highly-important conference business, from Marketing Birmingham to the West Midlands Film Production Fund and the Be Festival. Discussion revealed the scale of EU support to the local creative economy - from investment in major projects like Birmingham City University’s upcoming £14m innovation lab to a threeperson not-for-profit working in the community. The ability of funding and support to interact with creative businesses at every level was seen as key to its value. There was a strong sense that EU funding has provided local creative industries with a degree of financial stability through successive cuts to local authority culture budgets in recent years. Those who have benefited from this support thought it essential that the government clarifies their eligibility in coming years with a number of planned funding applications already scrapped due to a belief they would no longer be an option. There was also a belief - echoed in cities such as Norwich - that EU funders were more willing than domestic bodies to take risks in supporting projects for the sake of innovation. The meeting also covered the benefit of programmes like Interreg and URBACT, which help cities to co-develop civic policy and with which Birmingham has considerable involvement. The immediate impact of the EU vote was also clear. MAIA Creatives were re-writing business plans for a hotel for touring artists which was likely to be affected by restrictions to freedom of movement while independent record labels were highlighted as a loser in the currency stakes. The Czech Republic is the home of vinyl pressing plants and the slump in the pound had wiped out profits for many indie labels who had contracted Czech services.

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Brexit Report

Creative Industries Federation: Brexit report