May's Industrial Strategy to support an innovative economy

Theresa May's long-awaited Industrial Strategy was launched today, and the good news is that is reflects the asks that Ukie has been lobbying on, on your behalf, for some time.

In her Green Paper, she rightly identifies the rise and potential of "new sectors" (think about the cross-sectoral impact of what the games sector has been leading on such as AI, VR and AR), technical skills investment, international trade and investment, local support and the potential for new local institutions to deliver that support, infrastructure, and access to finance support for young businesses. 

Importantly, the Creative Industries have been recognised as one of the key sectors singled out in the strategy. This is great news for us because the creative industries generates £84bn to the UK economy and games and software development contribute £37bn of that. But we are innovation led too. 

This is a real opportunity to shape further support for the UK games sector to celebrate and grow its cultural and economic impact, especially as there will also be a review of arms-length bodies - including cultural institutions - and how funding and support flows at a local level. 

This is why we are playing an active part in the next stage of what this means in a tangible sense via the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund as well as through our continued engagement with government.

Our five 2015 Blueprint for Growth recommendations in detail called for UK and EU funding to recognise the contribution and modern nature of games, ensuring effective support alongside other creative industries for content that might be risky.  

We called for ways to promote games-as-culture and celebrate cutting-edge British innovation - we believe that this is more important than ever with developments led by the games industry in VR, AR and AI. It's pleasing to see the Industrial Strategy recognise the importance of innovation in emerging fields and it opens up the potential for new institutional support for these areas. 

We also called for support for regional growth, foreign direct investment and exports across the UK as well as the right infrastructure investment to enable (especially) young companies to scale - a sense of acting locally and thinking globally.

We invested in the UK Games Map in order for local policy makers and international investors to see patterns of growth and clusters around the country. This includes where we have strong games courses at higher level. This will continue to be industry-owned and used to see where and how public intervention at local levels can make a difference economically for an area.

Our third area of focus was around growing, attracting, and retaining the best talent for our economy and our sector - from playground to "pension". 

There are some specific challenges we face now with a Brexit looming and we must ensure that we press the government for the right immigration system that works for us all. We must also ensure that we are equipping educators with the skills and tools they need to teach STEM creatively to attract a diversity of young people into our sectors. 

This strategy is much needed for us to keep focussed on what can be done nationally whilst negotiations take place around Brexit and our international relationships. But there is more work to be done.

There is plenty more to come too as there will be consultation and action plans based in evidence to come out of this 10-pillar strategy. 

Last week, we launched our Brexit UK-wide industry consultation which includes a sector-wide survey with plus a 10-location roundtable tour. This Industrial Strategy is just the start of the journey and we need to ensure we have all the evidence we need to underpin how the strategy works in practice for the games industry.

If you want to get even more involved, there is never been a better time to join Ukie and be part of the future

Some other previous proposals to government have included:

2014: Ukie launches policy manifesto for the games industry

2014: Autumn statement: Ukie‘s 4-point proposal for video games industry growth 

2015: Ukie Calls for £8m Budget Boost for UK games

Autumn Statement 2016: Ukie's seven recommendations to the Chancellor

Ukie response to BFI 2022 consultation

10 pillars of the Industrial Strategy