Economy: Creative Industries
Lord Giddens (Labour)
My Lords, asking an academic to speak for two minutes is like some form of exquisite torture, since we normally talk for 50 minutes—and there is some of my two minutes gone already.
I have three main points, which I shall make briefly. To reaffirm what other noble Lords have said about the crucial importance of the creative industries in the modern economy, one has to see that against the backdrop of the amazing changes that have affected the economy more generally. A generation ago, more than 40 per cent of the population worked in manufacturing and agriculture; now only 14 per cent of the population do so. There has been a tremendous change, and the creative industries are in a kind of vanguard in that new economy.
Secondly, however, we should not make a ghetto for the so-called creative industries, a notion that anyone can see is suspect, as you need creativity in every industry. Alongside the reports mentioned, we should add the Cox Review of Creativity in Business, which was much more sobering than the picture that the noble Lord, Lord Birt, painted of arts industries. It showed that more than 50 per cent of firms had not introduced any new services or goods within the previous three years, indicating that there is a long way to go in that regard.
Thirdly, on a note of caution, economists are saying that we are in a new phase of offshoring. The old phase of offshoring manufacture has probably gone about as far as it can, but IT offshoring is completely different; it could be vastly more radical. The Princeton economist Alan Blinder argues that no less than 40 per cent of jobs in the United States economy could in principle be outsourced, including many creative economy jobs in design, computers, film and television. As I go around the world speaking in universities, I am impressed by the degree to which other countries have many universities teaching completely in English. One can see that the whole level of competition is being ratcheted up. If the Minister would like to say something about the perils and opportunities of offshoring in the IT industries, I should be very happy.