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More representation needed in Scottish creative industries

18 January 2016

The Scottish Affairs Committee has called on the UK and Scottish governments to work together to better understand and support creative industries in Scotland, or risk losing out on a multi-billion dollar industry.

The report identifies a critical need for government to recognise the creative industries as important economic contributors in their own right and develop policies designed specifically to support them.

During the inquiry, the committee took evidence from a number of industry leaders on the health of the creative sector in Scotland. The Committee held sessions in Dundee, Glasgow and London where it heard from representatives of the video games, music, broadcasting, film and advertising sectors.

The Committee has proposed a number of improvements to support for the creative industries in Scotland, including a distributor for lottery funding to the video games industry—in a similar form to that already enjoyed by the film industry—and also called for broadcasters to better engage with Scotland's television production sector.

Committee comments

Committee chair Pete Wishart said:

"I have been hugely impressed by the talent and ambition of creative professionals in Scotland, and pleased to see the successes they have already had. However, I am concerned that the sector is poorly understood by government and as a result is not able to thrive as it should.

At present, the Scottish and UK governments have different definitions of what constitutes the creative sector. This makes it difficult to understand how effective current policies are or to identify the areas where help is needed. We hope that in the future Holyrood and Westminster will work together to ensure greater clarity and allow further scrutiny.

We have looked at several areas—including intellectual property, tax reliefs and broadcasting—where it is not clear the interests of the creative industries in Scotland are being considered adequately by the UK Government. We have made specific recommendations for how Scottish interests should be reflected in these policies, and called on the UK Government to take action to make sure the views of the creative sector in Scotland inform future policy."

Committee member and MP for Dundee West Chris Law MP said:

"I am delighted the committee has chosen to launch its findings from the inquiry here in Dundee, where the now world famous games, Grand Theft Auto and Lemmings were created.

When the committee took evidence for the inquiry in October last year, here in Dundee, it was a great opportunity for companies in the creative industries based here to tell the committee exactly how the UK Government can do more to help the sector to grow.

It is clear that with increased and continued support from both public and private sector, such investment will pay huge rewards in terms of both jobs and Scotland's image as home to one of the world's most important clusters of innovative knowledge economy companies."

Summary of findings:

  • UK and Scottish governments should work together to establish a robust assessment of the creative sector and understand what level of funding is currently provided
  • UK Government should on how creative tax reliefs can be of greater benefit for Scotland, and better promotion of their availability to businesses in the creative sector
  • Intellectual Property Office should explore how they can better support Scottish businesses to protect and exploit their intellectual property rights
  • UK Government should consult with video games industry on establishing a distributor for National Lottery funds, following a similar model to BFI for film
  • Ofcom should takes steps to ensure that out-of-London television productions go to local production companies and local on-screen talent
  • BBC and Channel 4 need to ensure that there is no disadvantage to being located in Scotland when it comes to opportunities to win commissions and should consider locating a greater proportion of commissioners in Scotland
  • Scotland should be included as a full member of the Creative Industries Council and its England-only remit reconsidered.

Further information

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