Economy: Creative Industries
Lord Patel (Crossbench)
My Lords, I am sure that many noble Lords were surprised to see my name appear on the list of speakers in a debate on the creative industries. In previous debates relating to science and medicine and the contribution they make to economic growth, I have spoken about the need for funding at higher education level if we are to see growth in those industries, and that applies equally to the creative industries. I declare an interest as chancellor of the University of Dundee. The head of the strong school of art and design at my university tells me that it has difficulties getting undergraduates and, particularly, postgraduates trained to make them responsible for developing industries and taking sustainable creative design, for instance, to market.
I found interesting a recent paper by Stuart Macdonald of Gray's School of Art at Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen that used design as an example. The paper states that design is the largest segment of the creative industries and represents 30 per cent of the sector and that Design Council research has found that companies that invest in design see that investment more than double in value. However, despite their growth, in the UK creative industries related to design remain a cottage industry dominated by small businesses that are also very young. The sector is unable to take up the new opportunities offered by sustainable design. Design graduates need business and financial planning skills, which they are not taught adequately because of the lack of resources. Postgraduate courses are needed, and Cox's report recommended them in order to create design-literate managers and business-literate designers. It is important that the Government recognise that more funding is required at higher education levels and at universities if we are to see greater growth in the creative industries so that they can make a greater contribution to economic growth.