Industrial Strategy Briefing

March 23, 2017

Building Our Industrial Strategy

Green Paper Consultation | closes 11:45pm on 17 April 2017

gov graphic for building industrial strategy consultationCHEAD carried out our first consultation on the final day of #CHEAD2017 with an open-policy challenge-setting workshop. The second consultation has been scheduled for 5 April hosted by Prof Neil Grant at Chester University — further details to follow shortly.

CHEAD’s response will be drafted on an open document over the next two weeks, please do feel free to add your comments at any time. Questions most likely to be of interest to the creative HE sector are highlighted in mauve and pink.

Key issues:

CHEAD will be focusing our lobbying around four key issues:

Sector Deal

The Government is considering the question as to whether we will need ‘sector deals’ for key industries post-Brexit (Q.31). This is really key to the future growth of the creative industries and creative HE. Therefore we will be arguing for a ‘sector deal’ for creative industries — including creative HE — with tailored visa rules and support infrastructure. We need to know what specific detail about visas, sector bodies, investment, and what else should be in any ‘sector deal’ and we particularly welcome our members’ input on this question.

Most importantly, the Government needs a clear and cohesive set of messages from the creative sector — we absolutely cannot afford divisions as the Government would not be able to map a clear set of actions. Therefore, CHEAD is working as closely as possible with CIF, APDIG, and other sector bodies to ensure that we are closely aligned in our calls for action.

Skills pipeline

The issue of Brexit will be addressed via pressing for a ‘sector deal’ for creative industries. What do we need to include in any ‘sector deal’ to ensure the health of the creative skills pipeline post-Brexit? For example:

  • In discussions with the creative corporate sector it is clear that the creative industries are aware and becoming actively concerned about the threats to the creative skills pipeline in the restriction of school curriculae, restructuring of the HE sector, and Brexit. These problems need to be tackled through a national approach which exceeds the capability of the corporate sector particularly given the fragmentary and global nature of the creative industries. Do we need any additional infrastructure body to coordinate the fragmented ‘pipeline’?
  • BIMA and TIGRA have issued a joint call for the government to introduce a tax relief scheme for small to medium sized businesses in the creative sector. The scheme would be modelled on the way in which R&D tax credits work, but would reward training. This could help developers and other creatives to fund management training, strategic skill development and CPD. Expanding creative tax credits have run up against ‘State Aid‘ rules in the past. Brexit could have a significant impact on state aid rules in the UK but, until we know what form of Brexit we’re dealing with, it’s hard to say what this impact will be. Should we support expansion of creative tax credits to fund skills development? How does this relate to a ‘disruptive’ approach to HE provision implied in the HE Bill?
  • The Government is thinking about making access to FE and apprenticeships easier based on the HE model. What can we contribute here and what are the implications for creative HE?


Theresa May has indicated that she would like to maintain the UK’s research links with the EU, possibly in the form of continued membership of schemes such as H2020 — but it’s unclear whether the EU will be enthusiastic about any offer likely to be made by the UK government, particularly as the UK is already a net beneficiary of EU research funding. Freedom of movement is likely also to be a sticking point.

  • We will argue that the UK should seek continued access to EU research funding but creative HE also benefits from other forms of EU funding, particularly Creative Europe and also various forms of development funding. In its October 2016 response to the DCMS inquiry The Impact of Brexit on the Creative Industries, the Creative Europe UK Desk responded that it would prefer continued participation by the UK but: “Should continued participation not be possible as a result of the leave negotiations on overarching issues, such as free movement of people or access to the single market, the Government could put in place a replacement UK funding scheme, which would continue to stimulate and support the UK creative sector’s international ambitions, including with Europe.” CHEAD would strongly support this course of action.
  • According to a ForrestBrown report, Igniting Innovation, 73% of businesses think that Brexit makes the government’s extra spending on R&D more important. As I’m sure most of us are aware, the Government is happy to recognise the creative industries as an important growth area for the UK economy and yet the main focus on the ‘pillars’ being designed to support national economic growth, including research funding, focus almost exclusively on STEAM. We need to ensure that part of any ‘sector deal’ includes the creative industries in R&D funding such as the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund. Again, we welcome members’ views on what is needed to support research in our sector.

The University in Local and Regional Economies

Many of CHEAD’s member HEIs are deeply embedded in local economies — in many areas with an extremely significant contribution as an employer, a contributor to the local tax base, and as a driver of local creative industries. In many cases, HEIs are driving the regeneration of regional economies through R&D enabling transformation of previous mass industries to smaller, more design-driven, exporters to overseas luxury markets. The Forrester report points out that everyone agrees (even large companies) that the smallest companies should be prioritised for support. However, the Strategy is strongly focused on supporting high-growth companies whilst, in the creative industries, a larger base of smaller and ‘lifestyle’ companies is often the norm.

The December 2016 Localis report, The Making of an Industrial Strategy, makes a compelling case for ‘neo-localism’. “Neo-localism is about giving places and people more control over the effects of globalisation. It is concerned by economic prosperity, but also enhancing other aspects of people’s lives such as family and culture. It is not anti-globalisation, but wants to bend the mainstream of social and economic policy so that place is put at the centre of political thinking.”

  • We need to put the case for the role of HEIs not only in maintaining a flow of globally competitive creative skills but in the overall health of regional and local economies. CHEAD welcomes relevant case studies, data visualisations, or other data to support this.
  • The Report notes key failures of regional infrastructure and argues that “every place needs a clear bold industrial strategy for its own area, uniting industrial and civic communities with a common purpose”. What role could/should HEIs be playing in such a vision.

What next?

CHEAD members have already participated in the first of CHEAD’s consultations held on the last day of #CHEAD2017 at Edinburgh College of Art. The outputs from the open policy challenge setting workshop are available here. We are currently analysing these outputs.

The second CHEAD consultation event will be hosted by Prof Neil Grant at the University of Chester on 5 April 2017. More details will be posted soon.

Please also keep in touch with this page and with the collaborative draft as it begins to develop after our second consultation — and keep adding your comments or email Paula Graham-Gazzard for more information or to contribute data.

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