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How the UK Budget 2017 could affect the creative industries

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The Creative Industries Federation has responded to the UK government budget, unveiled today by chancellor Philip Hammond. Analysing how the figures might affect the creative industries, the federation has outlined positive and negative aspects to parliament’s economic plans.

John Kampfner, the CIF’s chief executive, says the government’s lack of investment in creative enterprise is overall “disappointing”. “With the creative industries already contributing £87bn to the economy, the government has missed an important opportunity to invest in the UK’s fastest growing sector at a critical time for the country,” he says.

“Failure to back our world-leading creative enterprises and entrepreneurs will be to the detriment of a sector that creates jobs at four times the rate of the wider UK workforce. A lack of commitment to the creative industries will mean that this job creation in our towns and cities across the land will be damaged. All this comes at a time of lacklustre growth forecasts and the apportioning of a further £3bn to deal with faltering Brexit negotiations.”

The federation also calls out the £2m investment in the new Cultural Development Fund as being “less than expected”.

On a positive note, after threatening to reduce funding to creative higher education, the federation reports it has not proceeded with these cuts and has pledged part of its “industrial strategy fund” to innovation in the creative industries. An “audiences of the future” project will, the federation says, help creative and tech industries to transform the way in which audiences engage with the UK’s world-class content through immersive technologies, such as virtual and augmented reality.

£2.3bn of investment has been dedicated to research and development, with £500m for artificial intelligence and 5G initiatives. £30m has been invested in development of digital skills distance learning courses.

The current VAT threshold for small businesses and freelancers is being maintained at £85,000, and a review of the apprenticeship levy has been commissioned. A consultation on extending the scope of tax relief available to the self-employed for self-funded work-related training costs has also been included.