A new report by Erskine Analysis, in collaboration with University of the Arts London, highlights the critical role of the UK’s Creative Industries as an economic powerhouse. However, the report also identifies challenges that threaten the UK’s global leadership in this sector.

Despite demonstrably leading in every sub-sector, the report warns that the UK’s global position is under threat. From fashion to film, music to museums between 2010 and 2019 (pre-pandemic) the creative sector grew 60% faster than the wider economy. Yet, emerging data and industry insights suggest a need for strategic action to ensure continued growth and solidify the creative industries’ role in supporting the UK’s soft power and foreign policy goals.

By not taking action, the UK risks self-inflicted economic and diplomatic damage. The nation’s creative output fuels a powerful brand – a key tool for foreign policy. However, creative goods and services exports haven’t fully bounced back from the pandemic. Additionally, competitors like France, Canada, and South Korea are actively supporting their creative sectors with well-defined strategies.

This neglect in the UK is felt by creative businesses, who are calling for a more prominent role in trade, migration, and foreign policy discussions. They believe urgent measures are needed to boost exports and solidify the UK’s soft power advantage.

The report makes a number of recommendations. Five of the most critical are:

The introduction of a Soft Power Council chaired by the Foreign Secretary. Made up of artists, organisations and businesses who represent the diversity of emerging and established British talent.
The creation of a new Soft Power Unit sitting at the heart of the UK Government in the Cabinet Office, bringing together the resources from a number of disempowered, smaller teams which already operate across Whitehall;
A £50m digitisation fund for the BBC World Service. As one of the most globally familiar creative industries’ brands, it would allow the UK to reflect British values around the world and tackle global disinformation in the digital age;
The introduction of a visa for the world’s best designers and craftspeople;
A live calendar of creative trade opportunities delivered by the Department for Business and Trade.

Read the full report here.