Press release: With coordinated action North of England based creative industries could add £10bn to the UK economy

21 September 2023

Today, the Royal Society for Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) and the Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre (Creative PEC), led by Newcastle University, say there is a ‘clear opportunity’ for the North of England to capitalise on growth potential in the creative industries, if policy makers and industry work together via ‘creative corridors’.

Economist and RSA Chief Executive Andy Haldane said: “A stronger northern creative economy is good for exports and investment which in turn increases demand for content and services from creative business in the rest of the economy. Our calculations show that this could be as high as £10 bn in GVA by 2030. The UK economy shrank in July. A creative revolution is sorely needed.”

Today’s new report England's Northern Creative Industries warns that although growth is possible, access to skilled workers, finance and investment in innovation must be achieved to realise the potential.

Mr Haldane continued: Without these crucial ingredients, the north will remain in the shadow of the ‘super-cluster’ of creative institutions and businesses already established in the Southeast. This report shows that London and the southeast still account for two thirds of the investment in creative industries from overseas.”

Creative PEC Director Professor Hasan Bakhshi said: “The creative industries in the North of England grew by approximately 30 per cent between 2010 and 2019 before the pandemic – more than 1.5 times faster than the growth of the wider UK economy. However, despite the presence of clusters in creative hotspots like, Leeds, Manchester and Newcastle they still only contribute around 3 per cent of the north’s economy. The case is clear for policy makers and industry leaders in the north to work together to supercharge growth in this sector so that the potential can be fully realised. Our report suggests where this work could start today.”

Next step

The report says that long-term investments like the move of Channel 4 to Leeds could pave the way for the creation of a ‘Northern Super-Cluster’ of creative industries. There is already substantial expertise and ingenuity in sectors like architecture in Skipton, Harrogate, Hexham, Manchester, Huddersfield, and Sheffield, and recognised excellence in museums and galleries in York, Kendal, Malton, Durham, Newcastle, Crewe and many other towns and cities. Universities including those in York, Manchester, Newcastle, and Lancaster are also already recognised globally as centres of excellence for education and training in the creative industries.

Previous Creative PEC research points to a ‘multiplier effect’ from investing in the creative industries and suggests that for every single new job created in a local creative sector, on average two additional jobs are related in sectors like leisure and retail due to the local spending of employees of creative businesses.

The report recommends that policymakers, funding organisations, industry leaders and higher and further education institutions, should sign up to a Northern Creative Corridor Charter.


Press contacts:

RSA: Steven George / 07539164695

Creative PEC: Alice Kent Anna Zabow

The report England's Northern Creative Industries is available to download here:

About the RSA

We are the RSA. The royal society for arts, manufactures and commerce. Where world-leading ideas are turned into world-changing actions. We’re committed to a world that is resilient, rebalanced, and regenerative, where everyone can fulfil their potential. The RSA has been at the forefront of significant social impact for over 260 years. Our proven change process, rigorous research, innovate ideas platforms and unique global network of changemakers, work collectively to enable people, places, and the planet to flourish in harmony. We invite you to be part of this change. Join our community. Together, we’ll unite people and ideas in collective action to create opportunities to regenerate our world. 

About the Creative Industries Policy & Evidence Centre (Creative PEC)

We exist to provide independent policy and evidence to support the inclusive and sustainable growth of the UK’s creative industries. The Creative PEC is led by Newcastle University with the Royal Society of Arts and funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). For more information visit @CreativePEC