Tsk, statistics, statistics

As every party promises to rebalance Britain\’s economy away from finance, the creative industries are a fast-growing sector. Between 1997 and 2007, they created two million new jobs and £16.6bn in exports.

There\’s about 30 million people in the UK labour force. So the claim is that the \”creative industries\”, which Polly seems to be using as a synonym for the Arts, employs some 7% of the workforce.

Umm, no, sorry, don\’t see it really. I have a feeling that that jobs number is gross, not net. The number of jobs created without taking off the number of jobs destroyed in the sector.

Alternatively, it\’s all jobs in \”creatives\”, which includes, say, video games, advertising, design and so on, which might all be very interesting but doesn\’t have that much relevance to a discussion of whether luvvies should be getting our money through the tax and subsidy system.

6 comments on “Tsk, statistics, statistics

  1. She tells us all through that article that this industry brings in £x millions, yet fails to state where and how this would not still continue should the subsidies cease.

    I’m not convinced…

  2. I’ve never believed the Arts Council agitprop when it comes to funding. (Our Poll of Sainted Memory would be well advised to do the same.) They tell us that the arts generate ten, or maybe it’s four this week, quid for every one pumped in. So if this is direct, internalised return, where’s the queue of investors to bite their hands off?

    The answer may be that this is return to local businesses. But local businesses already fund the arts because they perceive the benefits. The marginal benefit to funding the arts is probably less than zero, which is as clear a sign as any that the government can hop it and make us all better off.

  3. JuliaM,

    Exactly. Most of that isn’t even subsidy. I’ve been into their figures. Software is counted as a “creative export”. So, Sage sell a load of accounting software to Brazil, and that’s included. Likewise video games, a whole load of specialists that are subcontracted by the movie industry, and advertising.

    The funniest comment about the UKFC was from Chris Atkins, a movie producer:-

    They cared more about promoting diversity and fulfilling social quotas than about strong scripts. For that reason Nina’s Heavenly Delights (the worst film that I or anyone else has produced) was given £250,000 by the Film Council via Scottish Screen, not because it was a good story — far from — but because it was about Asian lesbians making curry in Glasgow, and so the perfect PC trivector. It was a critical and commercial flop, but no matter; we ticked the boxes.

  4. I wonder if Polly considers herself to be part of the “creative industries” ?

  5. Paddy: With a nod to Humbert Wolfe, and given the output of many journalists, I think you can safely put Polly and her ilk among the most creative of “creative industries”. Indeed, Our Pol’s call for state subsidies for the arts is of a piece with her stablemate Greenslade’s constant call for state subsidy of local media.

  6. It’s remarkable just how brazenly publicly funded art is conflated with the entire “creative industries,” which are chiefly businesses run as businesses and which generate profit because what they produce is of value to their customers, as determined by their customers and not by some imperious committee. The playwright Jonathan Holmes performed this sleight-of-hand back in February and Charlotte Higgins did the same the following month. Now it’s Polly “two villas” Toynbee.

    It’s become another of the Guardian’s casual dishonesties.

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