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UK associations launch election manifestoes

UK Music and the Creative Industries Federation have called for the music industry to be put at the forefront of policy as the UK reevaluates its place in the world

By IQ on 11 May 2017

Prime minister Theresa May, official portrait, election 2017

image © Controller of Her Majesty’s Stationery Office

UK Music, the umbrella body for Britain’s live, recorded and published music industries, and the Creative Industries Federation, a membership organisation for the UK’s creative sectors, have each presented their manifestoes for next month’s general election, recommending policy positions they say will enable the UK industry to thrive over the course of the next parliament.

The UK Music Manifesto 2017, published today, sets out a five-point plan for the music industry to “build the right framework […] in the coming years as the next government leads Brexit negotiations and plans for a future beyond the EU”.

From the manifesto, those five points are:

International action
We need the freedom to trade at an international level. It enables us to break and develop new markets. This freedom is crucial during Brexit negotiations and as the country develops a new trading relationship with the world. UK Music is concerned that the UK creative industries must not be used as a bargaining chip in any trade talks. Nor should UK music content be subject to restrictive quotas or costly tariffs.

Regional development
UK Music’s Wish You Were Here report into music tourism underlines the appetite for attending music events the length and breadth of the country, generating £3.7 billion in spend in the process. There is a possibility of doing much more with devolved and local government playing a role in bringing this together. Taking steps to introduce regional creative clusters and develop creative enterprise zones has the potential to support this further.

Intellectual property
Maintaining and strengthening the copyright framework is of great importance to the music industry during the Brexit negotiations and beyond. The European Union’s competency over copyright means UK domestic legislation is based on directives emanating from the EU as part of the copyright acquis. The EU provides a high level of protection for copyright works.

Skills and education
Talented creators are essential for the music industry’s continued success. This must not be taken for granted. Creative skills need be nurtured at the earliest opportunity. The music industry’s workforce needs to be equipped with the right skills to realise this talent.

Finance and investment
The right incentives are needed to sustain the development of new creators and music businesses. Breaking new acts and music contributes to our growth and productivity as a sector. Measures should be put in place to further drive this. Our ability to be entrepreneurial, bold and ambitious is enabled by having the right funding mechanisms and financial environment in place.

There are many small and medium enterprises operating in the music industry whose financial needs may be quite different to that of larger companies. Fiscal stimulus is needed whether a business or creator is at start-up or scale-up phase, or whether the needs are more general.

Andy Heath, UK Music’s chairman, comments: “To maintain growth and withstand the challenges that may be presented over the next five years, our government needs to put creative industries at the heart of Brexit negotiations and devise an industrial strategy to safeguard sectors like music and allow them to develop further. Securing the best deal for music must be achieved for our industry, our economy and for the world’s music fans.

“There will be many difficult issues which will occupy policy-makers and politicians, but it is vital to protect and develop the music sector, which is one of the UK’s greatest success stories, generating huge sums on a world stage. Policies overcoming the value gap and securing the true value of music from digital platforms, broadening protections for live venues and building our international trading relationships would go a long way to securing the future.”

The Creative Industries Federation, meanwhile, is in agreement as to the importance of ensuring the arts are “a priority sector” in the ongoing Brexit negotiations”.

“Securing the best deal for music must be achieved for our industry, our economy and for the world’s music fans”

“The UK’s creative industries are key to driving growth in a post-Brexit Britain, reads its manifesto, published late last month. “The sector is the fastest-growing part of the UK’s economy, contributing £87bn in GVA. It returns four times the GVA of the automotive industry, six times as much as life sciences and nearly 10 times that of aerospace. Between 2011 and 2015, it created three times more jobs than the economy as a whole. The UK is the third-largest exporter of cultural goods and services in the world – just behind China and the US. However, as other countries are now prioritising the sector, we cannot take our global pre-eminence for granted.

“With much of this growth, innovation and job creation emerging beyond London and the south-east, the creative industries are also critical to delivering social and economic regeneration in places that need it the most. Few other sectors can deliver so much and at this scale.

“With the right vision, leadership and policies in place, the creative industries can help secure an economy and society that works for all. But if government fails to deliver, this vision is at risk.”

Its manifesto contains a ten-point plan that, in addition to echoing UK Music’s calls for a healthy level of funding, the introduction of creative enterprise zones and support for “creative careers”, calls for an overhaul of the visa system as Britain prepares for a life outside the EU.

“Our visa system was built for an industrial landscape that no longer exists,” it reads. “We need a 21st-century model that recognises the needs of fast-growing, world-leading and highly innovative sectors, including science, tech and the creative industries.”

Britain goes the polls on 8 June following prime minister Theresa May’s (pictured) calling of a snap election. Current polls predict a landslide victory for her Conservative party, which is committed to a clean, or ‘hard’, break from the EU and the European single market.


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