Labour’s Bold Plan to Boost the UK’s Creative Industries



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4 min


10 July, 2024

With Sir Keir Starmer’s overwhelming victory, we’re reflecting on Labour’s manifesto and its plans for the creative sector.

Labour’s manifesto outlines a vision for “creating good jobs and accelerating growth” within the film, music, gaming, and other creative markets. This pledge is a key element of their Creative Industries Sector Plan aimed at building innovation and growth in these areas.

One major change is the proposed replacement of the current Apprenticeship Levy with a new Growth and Skills Levy which is designed to improve apprenticeship opportunities for young people.

Artificial intelligence will also be a big focus moving forward, with Labour advocating for the safe and regulated development of AI technologies and practices.

Labour also want to improve women’s rights which includes the gender pay gap, maternity and menopause discrimination, and sexual harassment. Considering the gender pay gap in the marketing industry stands at 16%, compared to the national average of 7.7%, this is an important step.

Investing in the creative sector

In her foreword to Labour’s Creating Growth Plan for Arts, Culture, and Creative Industries, Thangam Debbonaire, Labour’s outgoing Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media, and Sport, highlights the value of the arts and culture. This vision has been met with enthusiasm by the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA), as highlighted by Director General Paul Bainsfair.

Bainsfair emphasises that the IPA’s top request for the new government is to “champion the advertising industry and ensure its continued success for the benefit of the UK.” He notes that this support is key for the UK’s position on the global stage.

The IPA also calls for increased investment in creative education and urges the government to explore ways to “level the playing field” to help the UK “attract and retain top international talent.”

The UK’s advertising sector is a major economic asset, valued at £36 billion in 2023, with £18 billion of that money coming from international exports.

Taking the arts more seriously

Stephen Woodford, CEO of the Advertising Association had the following to say:

As one of the UK’s top growth industries and service exporters, we look forward to working with the Prime Minister and his Cabinet to help deliver sustainable growth across the UK’s nations and regions. The UK needs to remain at the forefront of the data-driven economy. Regulatory certainty and support for the Advertising Standards Authority is key, as well as reforming education and skills policies to ensure our industry has the best creative and digital talent for our continued success and to grow jobs and investment.

Starmer gave a speech outside the Tate Modern gallery on the 5th July as Labour achieved the number of seats needed to take a majority.

This was “fitting”, says Caroline Norbury, CEO of Creative UK – the national membership body for the creative industries as it suggests the new Government is taking the cultural and creative industries more seriously.

She adds:

What we need now is policy practice. The prioritisation of a transformative curriculum which values creativity and develops our capability. Bold approaches to funding and finance through patient capital, with the Treasury focused properly on growth. Investment in regions and communities, in order to really help creative organisations thrive.

Navigating digital advertising regulations

According to Christie Dennehy-Neil, head of policy and regulatory affairs at the Internet Advertising Bureau UK (IAB), the new government presents a good opportunity to take stock and reassess.

She highlighted that Labour shouldn’t “automatically pick up where the Conservatives left off when it comes to making policy decisions about further regulation of digital advertising.”

Instead, Labour should manage digital advertising regulatory reform through “evidence-based and proportionate” strategies.

When the election was called and Parliament was dissolved, many bills were put on hold, including key legislation for the marketing industry like the regulation of HFSS products.

Phil Smith, Director General at the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers (ISBA) said:

We urge the Government to pass the Secondary Legislation required to finish the introduction of new food and drink advertising regulations. Advertisers are desperate for clarity and certainty on what products, categories and media are in or out of scope of the new regulations.

He notes that numerous brands are moving forward with ad campaign plans even though the final rules and guidance are not yet in place, potentially leading to issues down the road.

As the new Government settle in, we’ll have to wait and see what plans they have in store, and what plans they follow through with…

Hey I'm Tony, Founder and Director of Canny Creative. I eat, sleep and bleed Canny to be honest. I'm an absolute workaholic (and yes, I know that's not a good thing!).

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