The Crafts Council welcomes commitments to innovation and tech in the 2017 Budget and recognition of the role of the creative industries in the Industrial Strategy white paper. But we share the Creative Industries Federation’s disappointment about the lack of ambition in the white paper in terms of skills policy and the failure to recognise that the drop in creative education is a major threat to the growth of the creative sector and the wider economy.
We are pleased to see a commitment to outline ‘agreed’ and ‘advanced’ sector deals in the white paper. ‘Advanced sector deals’ - those that are currently being negotiated with government - include the creative industries and will be announced later. The Crafts Council, as a member of the Creative Industries Council (the joint government/industry forum), has contributed to the development of the draft sector deal for the creative industries. New money for the Cultural Development Fund (£2m), to provide investment to culture and the creative industries, is likely be packaged as part of any sector deal agreement.
Other Budget announcements included a review of the Apprenticeship Levy to ensure it works for better industry, and a commitment to work with businesses, lenders, insurers, the British Business Bank and the Intellectual Property Office to overcome barriers for business. The Government’s commitment to maintaining the current VAT registration threshold of £85,000 for the next two years is also welcome. This means that many craft businesses will not suddenly be drawn into the VAT regime. The Government has also confirmed that Making Tax Digital will only be a requirement for those with a turnover above the VAT threshold.
The Government has pledged part of its ‘industrial strategy challenge fund’ to an ‘audiences of the future’ project that will help creative and tech industries transform the way audiences engage with the UK’s world-class content through immersive technologies, such as virtual and augmented reality. This follows on from the Arts and Humanities Research Council’s announcement of the Creative Industries Clusters programme and brings the total of innovation investment into the creative industries through the challenge fund up to more than £110m. The Crafts Council is actively involved as a partner in several proposals to the programme and Statements of Interest submitted earlier in November can be found here.
The Crafts Council will continue to contribute to ongoing discussions and to making a compelling case for craft and skills education.
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