The UK’s roaring creative and digital industries made a record contribution to the economy in 2017, smashing through the £100 billion mark.
The nation’s world-leading digital and tech sector has seen its contribution to the UK economy increase by 7.3 per cent between 2016 and 2017 and by 32.9 per cent since 2010.
It is now worth more than £130 billion, according to new figures published by the Department for Digital, Media, Culture and Sport (DCMS).
It continues to perform highly and over the last two months British tech firms Monzo, Farfetch and Funding Circle have surpassed the $1 billion mark, meaning they are now classed as ‘unicorns’.
The value of the creative industries within the UK is also up, from £94.8 billion in 2016 to £101.5 billion. It has grown at nearly twice the rate of the economy since 2010.
The increase has been driven in part by a boom in the computer services sub-sector which includes video games such as Batman Arkham made by London-based games company, Rocksteady Studios and Red Dead Redemption 2 produced by Scottish company, Rockstar Games. This sector alone is worth £5.11 billion.
“Our creative industries not only fly the flag for the best of British creativity at home and abroad but they are also at the heart of our economy,” said digital, culture, media and sport secretary Jeremy Wright.
“Today they have broken the £100 billion mark and continue on a hugely positive upward trajectory, outperforming the wider UK economy and bringing joy and entertainment to millions.”
As part of the government’s Industrial Strategy, nine new ‘creative clusters’ across the UK have benefitted from £80 million funding to boost innovation by part-funding research partnerships between universities and industry.
They aim to increase the use of digital technologies to improve audience experience in the screen and performance industries, and shorten production times in the design industry.
This dovetails with investment in the UK’s digital sector. This month’s Budget included nearly £300 million of investment in emerging technologies including AI and quantum, with up to £50 million to be invested in new Turing AI Fellowships to help bring the best global researchers in AI to the UK.
Meanwhile, £235 million will also be used to establish a new National Quantum Computing Centre.