Law Firm Says Smaller Organisations Must Not Be Forgotten
A leading lawyer has called for greater action to support the UK’s creative industries and has urged the government to not focus its recovery efforts solely on large organisations.
The comments by Irwin Mitchell partner Laura Harper, a specialist advisor to the creative industries and media & entertainment sector lead, follows reports that 400,000 jobs are likely to be lost across sectors including music, theatre and art.
Expert Opinion“The UK’s creative industries were growing much faster than the economy generally before the coronavirus outbreak, but sadly the lockdown has had a huge impact on jobs and continues to put a significant number of jobs at risk.
“Much of the discussion about proposed Government support for the sector has been around big businesses and although this is of course important, we must also be aware that we cannot achieve economic recovery and subsequent regrowth without helping those at the bottom of the economic ladder.
“Interventions by the creative industries and the cultural sector have a proven and strong track record in achieving social change and getting people, and in particular young people, into further education and employment. Failure to support businesses and professionals in the creative industries will mean that these vital interventions will be lost and consequently, recovery stalled."
Laura Harper - Partner
The recent report into the economic impact of Covid-19 on industries including music, theatre, film, TV, fashion, publishing, architecture, museums and galleries was commissioned by the Creative Industries Federation and was undertaken by Oxford Economics.
The research suggests a drop in revenues equating to staggering £1.4bn a week over a year and the loss of about one in five creative jobs. It adds that the sector is expected to be hit twice as hard as the wider UK economy.
The report was followed by the publication by the Government of a five stage roadmap for the recovery of theatres, concert halls and arts centres. The Secretary of State for Digital Culture Media and Sport, Oliver Dowden launched the report with a statement last week referring to theatres, concert halls and music venues as the “linchpin of our world beating creative industries”. The five stages take the recovery process from socially distanced rehearsals and production, through to outdoor performances, and finally to fuller indoor performances.
The roadmap has received a mixed reception, some industry leaders welcoming the roadmap whilst other bodies representing the industry saying that the roadmap falls short – not least as it fails to mention any extra funding for the organisations affected; nor does it provide any dates for the implementation of each stage. The industry has called for the announcement of “not before” dates to help organisations plan their recovery.
This is supported by Harper who said: “Until theatres and music venues have dates they are unable to formulate and plan the appropriate recovery strategy for their organisation – these venues are nearly all dark, many staff having been furloughed or let go because of the current situation. Unless they have dates which they can use to plan for the reopening of their doors to safely bring in paying customers then the future is very uncertain. Not only for the organisations themselves, but for the creative industries as a whole which relies on these theatres and venues to bring through and grow the talent upon which entire subsectors of the creative industries are built”
In her statement on the release of the report Caroline Norbury, the Creative Industries Federation’s chief executive, said: “Our creative industries have been one of the UK’s biggest success stories but what today’s report makes clear is that without additional support we are heading for a cultural catastrophe.
“If nothing is done, thousands of world-leading creative businesses are set to close their doors, hundreds of thousands of jobs will be lost and billions will be lost to our economy. The repercussions would have a devastating and irreversible effect on our country.”
Norbury said the UK urgently needed a cultural renewal fund to help industries that will be the last to return to work.
The call for targeted government investment in the creative industries is supported by Irwin Mitchell.
Expert Opinion“Some elements of the sector are resilient and we have already seen some of our clients innovate and diversify to ride out this difficult period. However, whilst some areas of the Creative Industries seem to be affected less than others it is clear that in order for the UK economy to recover as swiftly as possible, targeted support is required for this important sector.
”We are supportive of the Creative Industries Federation and what they are trying to achieve."
Laura Harper - Partner