Our sector is the fastest-growing part of the UK economy, worth £87.4bn GVA1 (gross value added) and the creative economy accounts for one in 11 jobs. But the new challenges posed by Brexit have made it more important than ever that we articulate the value of our sector, economically and socially.
The EU referendum and our role Within weeks of the then Prime Minister, David Cameron, setting the date for the referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU, the Federation had begun two important initiatives. We organised a debate which was held before a capacity audience of members at the British Library on April 19. At the same time, we asked our members to participate in a survey that had two objectives. The first was to assess strength of opinion for leave or remain. The second was to probe the areas of concern and opportunity. Those of our members who are linked in some way to government (such as Arts Council England, Creative Scotland and Arts Council Wales) or who have public service broadcasting obligations removed themselves from the process. The survey, which was conducted in strict anonymity, produced an overwhelming vote - 96% - to remain in the EU. Four areas of concern emerged: - Talent and skills - including access to specialist workers, skills shortages, touring, festivals, visas, freelancers, Erasmus+ programme - EU funding - including access to pots such as Creative Europe and Horizon 2020, cultural exchange, export opportunities, regions, eligibility in the run-up to Brexit - Trade and investment - including EU as main market, regulated services, new markets, ‘country of origin’ principle, tax credits, World Trade Organisation (WTO) terms - Regulatory frameworks - including Digital
Single Market (DSM), intellectual property (IP) rights, copyright protection, influence on new regulations, respect for IP in potential new markets. On May 20, we published the findings at a roundtable of sector leaders chaired by the then Prime Minister.
Response to EU referendum decision The result of the EU referendum was not what our members would have preferred, but we recognised that the next step was to be practical and identify the key challenges, opportunities and red-line issues for the Brexit negotiations. By late morning June 24, the day after the count, we invited our members to a national meeting. The event, held at King’s College, London, on July 7, saw 200 leaders from commercial companies, arts organisations and higher education institutions from across the UK to start gathering evidence to inform the Federation’s response. We examined what was already happening as a consequence of the vote and assessed priorities. The task was not only to identify the concerns but also potential opportunities. Further meetings were held between July 20 and September 15, in Birmingham, Nottingham, Manchester, Edinburgh, Norwich, Swansea, Bristol, Plymouth, Leeds and Newcastle. In addition, we asked members to complete a detailed survey on the implications and opportunities of leaving the EU. Nearly 500 leaders and practitioners from all the creative disciplines have contributed to our work, providing empirical evidence and individual stories. This document is based on those meetings and places that evidence in a broader policy context.