Scotland National Strategy for Economic Transformation: industry leadership groups and sector groups - evidence

This paper provides summary evidence received from Scotland's industry leadership groups and other economic sector groups as part of the National Strategy for Economic Transformation engagement process.

4. Creative Industries Sector

Figure 4.1 – Turnover and GVA of the Scottish Creative Industries Growth Sector [7]
Figure 4.2 – Employment of the Scottish Creative Industries Growth Sector [8]

Industry Aspirations to 2030

Over the period to 2030, the industry aims to:

  • support, grow and realise the potential of the creative industries sector in Scotland;
  • ensure the sector fully supports our economy – with fair work at its heart, economic growth, net zero targets and wellbeing;
  • identify opportunities to boost the competitiveness of creative industries and international reach;
  • improve the economic resilience of the creative industries;
  • develop a creative workforce for the future; and,
  • support creative and cultural businesses to develop their digital capabilities, improve their digital skills and enhance their creative opportunities.

Industry Opportunities

The Programme for Government has identified the following actions that will generate opportunities:

  • revising the Creative Industries Policy Statement and outlining the opportunities for the sector post Covid;
  • developing the V&A museum to become a National Centre for Design;
  • building on the Creative Digital Initiative and creating further opportunities to support creative and cultural businesses to develop their digital capactity and capabilities, enhance their data and digital skills and explore a cluster based approach to data driven innovation;
  • continuing work with the Public Interest Journalism Group to ensure long term sustainability and resilience;
  • working with music industry representatives and key stakeholders to support the recovery of the sector, including the Scotland on Tour Initiative that will create new opportunities for musicians and artists to tour to new venues across Scotland in 2022;
  • Screen Scotland will stimulate growth through funding and support for film and television production; the advice of its specialist staff; and investment in skills, festivals, audiences and education;
  • supporting the development of skills, facilities and opportunities for the screen sector;
  • continuing to support new studio space, increasing skills provision across the screen sector, including through increasing training and apprenticeship placements, and press the BBC and other broadcasters to increase production from Scotland;
  • using new studio space as a catalyst to increase Scotland’s skills and talent base and make the film and TV sector more sustainable; and,
  • ensuring new productions leave a legacy of an ever-stronger crew base drawn from across Scotland, and Screen Scotland develop their activities further with their skills strategy.

Industry Challenges

The challenges for the industry are as follows:

  • the significant impact of COVID-19 on the sector, and potential for slow recovery. Pre-pandemic the creative industries sector was one of the fastest growing sectors in Scotland, with its contribution to the economy (GVA) having grown 62% between 2008 and 2017. It was estimated to support around £9 billion of activity within the wider Scottish economy and to contribute around £5.5 billion to Scottish GDP or about 4% of total Scottish GDP;
  • Audience confidence and reductions in audience numbers compared to pre-pandemic levels, which industry groups claim is having a devastating impact on artist income and the wider industry. Economic activity is still being suppressed, delayed and rescheduled due to the pandemic; and,
  • The creative industries have a large number of small and micro businesses with a high percentage of the workforce being freelance. Creative freelancers have been particularly impacted by the pandemic and many have left the industry to take employment elsewhere.

Ongoing and Planned Activity for Industry

The industry has an extensive programme of action for recovery from the pandemic and growth, which includes work with Partners and through the Creative Industries Leadership Group will support our strategy for recovery of the sector and in particular on areas such as:

  • developing and retaining skills;
  • understanding the new landscape and supporting the development of key industry assets and businesses;
  • promoting our international profile;
  • establishing two working groups to focus on Creative skills and a resilient workforce. The working groups are in the process of developing recommendations for the Scottish Government on these themes;
  • working with partners to consider the recommendations from the working groups and from the evaluation of the Creative Digital Initiative to refresh our Creative Industry Policy Statement ;
  • working with key stakeholders in the music industry to support the sector, including the successful delivery of ‘Scotland on Tour’;
  • growing Scotland’s studio infrastructure. Scotland now has a range of new studio space being used by film and high-end television productions with more to come, like the Kelvin Hall studio;
  • backing industry-led traineeships across key productions and programmes to retrain people affected by Covid-19 pandemic for ‘in-demand’ screen careers; and,
  • providing additional resources to Screen Scotland, to facilitate year-round engagement between the Scottish and international film and studio industries.



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