UK screen industry headed for $45bn “cultural catastrophe” without support

Caroline Norbury

The UK screen industry is predicted to lose £36bn (USD$45bn) in revenue in 2020 as a result of the Covid-19 crisis, according to a new report from global analysts Oxford Economics.

‘The Projected Economic Impact of Covid-19 on the UK Creative Industries’ report, commissioned by the UK’s Creative Industries Federation, has calculated that there will be a 57% loss in total revenue, with 42% of jobs in the sector to be lost, equating to around 102,000 people facing unemployment.

The Federation’s CEO Caroline Norbury said that the report’s conclusions showed the UK heading for a “cultural catastrophe.”

Calling for further government support for the sector, Norbury said: “If nothing is done, thousands of world-leading creative businesses are set to close their doors, hundreds of thousands of jobs will be lost and billions will be lost to our economy. The repercussions would have a devastating and irreversible effect on our country.”

Norbury highlighted the need for a “Cultural Renewal Fund” to aid those in the creative sector who will be hit hardest by the pandemic, including those industries who will be latest to return to work, those businesses unable to operate fully whilst maintaining social distancing and creative professionals who “continue to fall through the gaps of government support measures.”

The Federation has repeatedly highlighted the plight of the UK’s creative industry during the pandemic, particularly the struggles faced by freelance workers.

The report was commissioned by the Federation in collaboration with numerous other groups, including Bectu, BFI, Directors UK and the UK Screen Alliance.

It predicts an overall loss of 406,000 UK creative jobs and a total drop of £74bn for the UK’s creative industries this year, equating to around £1.4 billion each week, when including other sectors such as publishing, market research, music and crafts.

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