Creative Industries

– in the Scottish Parliament at on 20 March 2024.

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Photo of Daniel Johnson Daniel Johnson Labour

6. To ask the Scottish Government how it plans to grow Scotland’s creative industries. (S6O-03221)

Photo of Kaukab Stewart Kaukab Stewart Scottish National Party

The creative industries are an important growth sector, and the number of people that the sector employs is forecast to grow by 4 per cent by 2026. The workstreams that are outlined in the recently published “A Culture Strategy for Scotland: Action Plan” aim to develop the conditions for inclusive growth of the sector. Aligned with the priorities in the national strategy for economic transformation, those include promoting fair work, developing a strategic approach to skills and publishing our international culture strategy, which will support the international ambitions of the sector and ensure that such activity plays a full role in its long-term development.

Photo of Daniel Johnson Daniel Johnson Labour

The creative industries are a critical contributor to the Scottish economy and a catalyst for inward investment—for example, every pound that is spent at the Edinburgh festival generates £33 in return. Although the minister referenced growth in employment, the simple reality is that, according to the Scottish Government’s growth sector statistics, fewer people work in the creative industries now than in 2014.

Indeed, out of 34 European nations, Scotland is ranked 28th on investment in creative industries. What will the Government do to encourage investment? Does the minister agree that we need to view the creative sector as a core part of the economy, particularly through investment and support through enterprise agencies and policies, and not just as a net recipient?

Photo of Kaukab Stewart Kaukab Stewart Scottish National Party

I recognise the enormous impacts that our creative industries make on our economy, our social health and our wellbeing. There have been communications regarding the tax breaks that can be offered. I wrote to the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport asking for permanent tax relief for our orchestras, theatres, museums and galleries, so I welcome the announcement on that.

Screen Scotland has advised that the visual effects industry tax credit increases could be positive and significant, as they will allow the United Kingdom to keep more work in the United Kingdom. It could be an incentive for London-based companies to grow their UK-wide presence, including in Scotland.

The Deputy Presiding Officer:

There are a couple of brief supplementary questions.

Photo of Collette Stevenson Collette Stevenson Scottish National Party

The UK’s exit from the European Union has had a substantial negative impact on our cultural and creative sectors. Can the minister provide any update on the Scottish Government’s latest engagement with the UK Government on the steps that can be taken to mitigate those impacts, and does she agree that we would be better placed to grow our creative industries as a member of the EU?

Photo of Kaukab Stewart Kaukab Stewart Scottish National Party

Collette Stevenson is quite right to raise the effects of Brexit. It has had, and continues to have, a devastating impact on the sector. Freedom of movement throughout Europe supported Scottish artists’ international mobility, and the creation of costs and administrative barriers post-Brexit makes international working increasingly difficult.

I agree that we would be better placed to grow our creative industries as members of the EU. I wrote to the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Lucy Frazer, on 5 March, outlining positive steps that could be taken in the spring budget, including seeking talks with the EU about rejoining the creative Europe programme.

The Cabinet Secretary for Constitution, External Affairs and Culture also wrote to the Home Secretary on 7 March, raising concerns about the Home Office’s handling of visa applications for creative professionals. A meeting of the interministerial group on culture is planned for later in the year, and I expect EU engagement and mobility to be discussed.

Photo of Jamie Greene Jamie Greene Conservative

It was not long ago that politicians from across the political spectrum came together to lobby against plans to privatise Channel 4. We were successful in that, but we are now concerned about plans that could mean just 9 per cent of production quotas taking place outside England. Does the minister agree that one way to grow Scotland’s creative industries is to grow our screen sector, and that all broadcasters and their regulators should be committed to doing so?

Photo of Kaukab Stewart Kaukab Stewart Scottish National Party

I agree with the member’s concerns. I will ask the cabinet secretary, whose portfolio that issue falls under, to come back with a fuller answer.