Lucy Frazer – 2024 Speech at The Big Creative UK Summit

The speech made by Lucy Frazer, the Culture Secretary, on 3 March 2024.

Good evening, it is an absolute pleasure to be with you today. I’m delighted to be invited by Caroline who is a real tour de force, who is powering the Creative Industries.

Creative UK plays a critical advocacy role in convening organisations across the cultural and creative industries. I know hundreds of you are members, and I value the programmes Creative UK runs right across the UK. Creative UK believes creativity can change the world. I believe that too.

This evening I want to talk about some of the fruits of the joint collaboration between the government and the industry. Fruits which are helping to set a strong framework for the industry to thrive and helped pave the way for the sorts of measures we introduced today.

I wanted to begin by recognising some of the great creativity I’ve seen over the course of the past year as your Culture Secretary.

Because there are so many amazing productions that are bringing joy and meaning to people across the country: the first class production of original work in The Motive and the Cue at The National; the modern interpretation of Othello at The Globe; the traditional and beautiful production of Cinderella at Royal Opera House; real British dramas like Happy Valley and Inside Man; outstanding films like Saltburn, and Oppenheimer; the See, Hear, Feel interactive Ukraine exhibition in Liverpool during Eurovision; the incredible Aviva Studios in Manchester, home of the new flagship destination Factory International; our iconic world leading fashion displayed in the NEWGEN Rebel exhibition at the Design Museum.

Each show, each production, festival or exhibition is incredible in and of itself but it’s also part of a much bigger picture of creative success. And each creative endeavour fundamentally relies on incredible innovation, technical expertise and the craft of so many. Like set specialists 4Wood TV & Film based in Wales and growing into the West Midlands, who build for Doctor Who and much more.

And while we’ve seen exceptional British talent recognised in recent weeks at the BRITS, at the BAFTAs, London Fashion Week the creativity coming through at the grassroots level is just as inspiring.

Our start-ups, our schools, our colleges, our grassroots venues are all incubators for ideas and home to the creative geniuses of tomorrow. And our cultural institutions are doing ground-breaking work like the Royal Shakespeare Company transforming literacy rates across England. The National Theatre bringing the best of theatre to schools, libraries and museums. Meanwhile, places like Roundhouse Works in London or The Junction in Cambridge are giving chances to the next generation of musicians and creatives.

And one of the most inspiring visits I’ve done was to the London Screen Academy. Seeing how Charlie Kennard and the team are building a pipeline of talent of creative confident kids who are learning skills so fundamental to all jobs communication, team work, and presentation skills.

What is very clear to me is that your ingenuity, your skills, your creative excellence not only brings happiness and meaning to the lives of millions of people it also provides jobs right across the country and cements our status as a cultural superpower on the world stage.

And I wanted this evening to share with you – just in case it’s you’ve got any doubt about it – just how much this government backs you and the creative industries.

And I wanted to do this by way of a story. At the end of last year the Prime Minister and Trade Secretary organised the Global Investment Summit. That Summit invited over 200 top international investors to pitch the UK as a destination of foreign investment. There were only 4 plenary sessions and 2 were dedicated to the creative industries – that is half of the presentations reserved for the creative industries.

It was an overwhelming recognition by this government that today – in 2024 our companies, our innovators, our creators, our artists are putting a British stamp on every creative industry on the world stage. You are our shop window for the globe and we in government recognise that.

This British success across the globe is, of course, primarily the result of our ingenuity, your talent, your hard work and entrepreneurial spirit. But you have also worked with us in government in partnership. Throughout the last decade you’ve made clear how we can support your industries to thrive and we have listened.

Extensive tax reliefs.

£1.57 billion worth of support through the Covid cultural recovery fund.

A range of funds to help creative entrepreneurs go from start-up to scale-up.

Consecutive Conservative Governments have identified the potential that exists across our creative economy; they’ve understood the enormous dedication and determination of the businesses and people in these sectors; and they’ve recognised the importance of Creative Industries to our way of life.

Over the last decade, every year the government has introduced tax reliefs in one form or another.

From film to animation to video games to orchestras to theatres, these tax reliefs have helped to attract huge global investment into the UK.

Global investment that translates into local jobs and livelihoods, into new businesses into our towns and cities – big and small – into a culture that encourages creativity at every turn and at every level.

We in government cannot guarantee success, but all we can do is create the right conditions and the right framework to foster it.

And I wanted to share with you this evening the impact of all this and what the statistics show. The statistics show: nearly a million new jobs in the Creative Industries since 2011; and the GVA of the sector has increased by 50 percent to £125 billion in 2022.

Exports of creative industries services are up 210% since 2010.

And recently published figures confirmed the sector has grown by more than 10% between 2019 and 2022.

These are not just statistics. Behind these numbers are hundreds, if not thousands of success stories up and down the country.Ideas brought to life by creative industries. Jobs that did not exist over a decade ago. And creativity we have all enjoyed, which could have gone elsewhere, but didn’t.

None of this would have been possible without the energy, leadership, creativity, passion and investment of the people in this room, and beyond. So I wanted to take this evening to simply say thank you for everything you have done.

But we cannot afford to rest on our laurels. Last year when I spoke to you at this very same event, I committed to bring forward an ambitious vision for your industries.

These were not just words, and I wanted to update you on what I have done over the course of the last year together with you.

In June we launched our Creative Sector Vision, developed in partnership with the Creative Industries Council, and the fantastic Sir Peter Bazalgette, which sets out our plan for the future.

We have a joint plan to deliver £50 billion of growth, a million more jobs and a pipeline of talent so that the industry can continue to thrive. And we say we will do that by 2030.

And our plan included £310 million of funding, of which £77 million was recently announced in June, to drive growth in creative businesses across the country, through projects such as financially supporting creative clusters in the regions because we recognise creativity is everywhere.

It includes a focus on skills from the first day of school to the last day of work, including for example creativity during primary school, specialist schools, more apprenticeships, boot camps in the Creative Industries.

At the same time as we announced the Creative Industries Sector Vision in June, we announced programmes like: the UK Games Fund to bring through early stage games developers; funding to support grassroots music venues; and a trebling of the Music Exports Growth Scheme that has helped so many emerging artists.

And today at the Budget we’ve built on all our existing support and the Creative Industries Vision, going further than ever before with a package of £1 billion in measures

It was a Budget that recognised that within the creative industries there are a whole range of subsectors, each with their own specific needs, each with their own nuances and each with their own huge potential for growth.

Today what we did was set out bespoke support for so many of these different, constituent parts of the wider sector.

So for our film studios – which are an essential reason that last year half of the top ten blockbuster UK movies were made on British soil – we are providing support through a 40% business rates relief until 2034, enabling our studios to attract the investment needed from around the world to bring more creativity and more creative jobs to Britain.

For British independent film we are backing those companies with a new UK Independent Film Tax Credit providing an increased benefit of 53%, enabling this part of the sector to continue to launch the careers of actors, producers and directors and to tell the cultural stories of the whole of the UK.

For our visual effect sector, there will be a 5% increase in tax relief and we are going to remove the 80% cap on UK visual effects qualifying expenditure. These new visual effects reliefs will come into force in 2025 and our aim is to make the UK a number one global destination for visual effects.

For our orchestras, museums, galleries and theatres, the CX confirmed today that the Government will set permanent higher rates of tax reliefs to continue the Government’s support for new innovative productions.

From 1 April 2025 these rates will be permanently set at 45% for all orchestral and touring productions and at 40% for non-touring productions.

And that’s not all!  As part of our plan to create the pipeline of talent that our creative sectors need to flourish, today’s budget included funding for the National Film and Television School to enable them to extend their site – growing course provision, building a state-of-the-art training centre and continuing to train the next generation of world leading creative talent.

And, lastly but by no means least, the Chancellor has also announced bespoke support for the National Theatre, one of our great cultural institutions, which is so important to fostering, inspiring and providing opportunities for our creative talent in the UK, by providing £26.4 million for urgent infrastructure improvements. This investment will future-proof the theatre’s facilities and support its long term success.

These measures have come about because of our joint partnership. Many people in this room have helped to make those announcements happen. You have shown through your excellence and creativity what we can achieve. You and the industry as a whole have provided evidence and case studies and analysis which has helped me to make the case to the Treasury for this investment.

Taken together these measures mark another big step in the support this government is providing to enable our creative industries to grow; building on our strong track record which goes back for over a decade.

But let me also say that I appreciate that while the Creative Industries has achieved remarkable growth in recent years, I know it’s not been without its challenges.

I take seriously my responsibility to listen to, understand and respond to feedback from those on the frontline of our creative industries.

I know that there are myriad challenges right across your industries.

Strikes have had an impact on the TV and film sector.

I know the nature of freelance work creates uncertainty for so many people.

There is too much bureaucracy, too much red tape and too many restrictions around touring.

Grassroots venues are struggling to survive.

Getting investment can sometimes be difficult.

And that is all without mentioning some of the concerns that exist when it comes to the potential misuse of generative AI to steal the original work of people in this room.

And I want you to know that I am working across government and beyond on all these issues. I absolutely understand these challenges and do not underestimate them.

So whilst today is a really, really, really good day for our creative industries…that absolutely doesn’t mean that there isn’t more to do. More to do to ensure that this sector can continue to thrive.

And that’s why I am committed to working every day to deliver on our Creative Industries Sector Vision. And I look forward to working in partnership with all of you to support the sector to reach its absolute full potential.

Thank you very much.