Comms agency thoughts: Digital answers, creative industries, and the Budget

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So yesterday the UK budget was delivered by our Chancellor, Philip Hammond, and the outlook is unarguably bleak. Productivity has been downgraded well into the next decade, the deficit may be falling but the debt level continues to climb, housing, healthcare, transport, education and your chances of getting the internet speed you think you paid for are all, well, you get the point…

The list of bad news could go on far longer, but one thing stood out to this comms agency; a complete lack of emphasis on supporting the industries that could well offer a significant boost to the country’s economic outlook. The creative and digital sectors, ranging from music to filmmaking, design to web dev, have always been somewhat overlooked by the powers that be in this country, despite the fact our output has been significantly greater than many larger countries with bigger populations.

It wasn’t so long ago that— during our daily hunt for news and newsworthy ideas— we came across a story about the potential impact Brexit may have on short-term job roles within creative industries, for example when a studio needs to draft in an expert for one or two days in order to complete a project, and looks to Europe for a visa-free solution. This is just one example whereby one of the greatest assets in the UK, i.e. our niche sectors, are being ignored when it comes to discussions about the big issues.

What happens with immigration law and visas post-March 2019 is, of course, open to speculation right now. But what is clear is that in and amongst all the doom and gloom, the pessimism and the cries of ‘woe is us’, at least some of the solutions as to how we can properly kickstart the engine room once more might be staring us in the face. We just need to take them as seriously as they deserve.

In October, we partnered on the first edition of the eCommerce Show North, which shows just how vital that sector is to Smoking Gun’s own region, with Manchester also a hotbed for cloud services, design agencies and broadcast production services. London’s tech hub status has long been established, as has its role as a global centre of content, and there are plenty of other areas of the country wherein the real silver lining is in businesses that produce things of beauty, or things of function, but not necessarily things you can hold in your hand in the traditional sense. They say manufacturing is all but dead in the UK these days, we say it just depends on how you define a ‘maker’.