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How policymakers can support local growth in the creative industries

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As part of our research agenda around local growth, we consulted our Industry Champions on their experience of local policy interventions aimed at growing the creative industries. Our Industry Champions are trusted practitioners from across the UK, who help to ensure that our research and policy recommendations are guided by the needs of the people working in the creative industries.  

Last month we brought together some of these individuals, who work across marketing, museums, craft, graphic design, audio, film and visual arts. We held a panel discussion at the World Museum in Liverpool to address three questions: 

  • What does success in the creative industries look like in your geographical area? 
  • Which local interventions have been successful in unlocking this growth and which have not? 
  • What additional local interventions are needed? 

The purpose of the Panel was for industry experts to share their experience of local, regional and devolved government interventions. They discussed opportunities and challenges that they have experienced around the areas of local fluctuations in support, signposting and business support, access to finance, space to work, public procurement, capital investment and infrastructure, and cross-sector working. In the report, we capture the key points discussed at the Panel and the implications for policymakers, industry and the PEC. 

Implications for policymakers include: 

  • Local councils and other policymakers should consider providing greater support and information for firms, including creative businesses, if policies change following an election. 
  • More work needs to be done on signposting to creative businesses the support that is locally available to them. 
  • Local councils and LEPs (in England) who provide access to finance for creative businesses should consider how they can simplify their application procedures. 
  • LEPs should look to replicate successful strategic funds like the Liverpool City Region funds.
  • Policymakers who want to attract and grow creative businesses in their local area should consider opening up available empty space, subsiding rent for creative businesses as they set up, and reducing creative business rates. 
  • Local governments should review their procurement practices to remove impediments for small creative businesses. 
  • Local (and central) government should consider where local infrastructure restrictions are likely to be harming business growth, not just infrastructures in travelling to London.
  • Consider whether programmes to support growth in the local creative industries can encourage more cross-sector working and collaboration, as a means to grow business capacity.

Implications for industry include:

  • Inform policymakers of the local impact of their creative businesses.

Implications for the PEC include:

  • An understanding of what the barriers are to public procurement from creative businesses compared with SMEs more generally, may merit further research.
  • Further research may be needed on the impact of Section 106 agreements.

Please reference this paper as:

Easton, E. and Burger, C. (2020) Insights from our industry champions: How policymakers can support local growth in the creative industries. London: Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre. Available from:

Published 25th February 2020 

Photo by Alex Holyoake

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