The UK's Industrial Strategy takes its early first steps
The Government today published its Industrial Strategy White Paper which lays out some early headlines, programmes and ambitions which it hopes will help build a modern economy fit for the future.
This paper is an evolution of the Industrial Green Paper which it published earlier this year in which is identified the creative industries, including games, as a priority sector for investment.
We laid out what the priorities were for the games and interactive entertainment sector, a sector which sits at the apex of creativity and technological innovation, in April this year.
Since then, we have been intensively involved in multiple working groups on innovation, creative clusters, data, skills, to help shape what the priorities are for some concrete commitments to fulfil that ambition.
We already heard last week in the Chancellor's Budget what his intentions were around further investment in R&D, including raising the tax credit for R&D, as well as further investment in maths education and the training of computer science teachers.
Work on the Challenge Funds, as well as the Creative Research & Development (R&D) Partnership scheme - part of the Creative Industries Clusters Programme - is also already underway.
These offer opportunities for our sector - so long as they are accessible and not resource-intensive for our businesses, which is made of up small companies.
Research and development investment is critical, and it is encouraging to see the announcement of £33m for an 'audiences of the future' fund to support immersive tech, from classrooms to entertainment.
Overall, we welcome today's White Paper's ambition and recognition that much of our future economic success will rely on a creative, data-driven digital economy, robust infrastructure, the investment in skills that we need now, and innovation in areas such as immersive technologies and experience and artificial intelligence – areas where the games industry already leads the way.
Although it is easy to think that just because "games" may not be mentioned specifically this strategy isn't relevant to us, we must remember that our sector is recognised as a blueprint for creative innovation.
It is also good to see an emphasis on the clusters of innovation and creativity that we already see with games businesses across the country, providing opportunity, employment and exports. What we must ensure is that our exports and productivity across these clusters is measured in a more effective way however, and that local support strategies are effective and accessible. Our sector's ideas about how to support local growth and innovation were laid out in the Blueprint for Leamington work.
The investment in maths, digital and technical skills is also a positive step, but we must also ensure that we are combining skills around arts, humanities, and critical thinking fit for a creative and data driven innovative economy.
This is especially important when trying to understand the impact on people and society of and increasingly data and AI driven world.
Most importantly, we need to continue to make sure government addresses important concerns raised by Brexit in making sure that games businesses - and all our businesses - can still access the highly-skilled talent that the wider digital creative economy needs via a modern immigration system.
Some of the detail: