Gov't attempts to boost growth in creative industries

LONDON — The U.K. government will invest £6 million ($9.7 million) over two years in skills development for Blighty’s creative industries, it was confirmed Wednesday.

The measure was unveiled by chancellor of the exchequer George Osbourne in his autumn statement on the U.K.’s finance and economy.

“Our creative industries are worth over $57.4 billion a year. They are a key part of our economic growth strategy,” said creative industries minister Ed Vaizey. “But they need to make sure that they can continue to compete in the global marketplace. This new investment will make sure that our creative industries have people with the right skills to make sure they stay at the top.”

The new fund, co-invested with the industry, will total $19.3 million and offer entry level and professional training for up to 3,300 people working across the film, television, animation and video games industries. The government investment will match funds already in place, including National Lottery funding provided by the British Film Institute. The funds will be accessible from April.

“The U.K. creative industries are renowned for having a world-beating skills base. A new challenge is making sure that we can effectively resource increased levels of production, as a result of the tax credits, to the same high standards,” said producer and chair of the Film Skills Council and Film Industry Training Board, Iain Smith. “It is fantastic to see today’s financial commitment from the chancellor to support skills and talent development for high-end TV production, film, animation and computer games to help our industries step up to this challenge.”

The investment will be handled by entertainment industry body Creative Skillset’s Skills Investment Fund, which previously managed film industry investment and now extends its remit to cover television, animation and games. Since 2007 Creative Skillset has managed investment funds totalling $40.3 million for skills training in film and television to nearly 6,000 people.

“In recent years we have seen considerable growth in the film, TV and animation industries. They are a significant part of the creative industries, who overall provide 5.1% of U.K. employment,” added John McVay, chief executive of producers’ body P.A.C.T. “Creative Skillset’s Skills Investment Fund has already helped our members create business opportunities in film. This welcome announcement will extend the same approach to high-end TV and animation which will help these industries grow further and faster.”

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