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Quality TV – central to the UK’s economic prospects

Gerry Morrissey Gerry Morrissey - "BBC cuts are a false economy"

13 October 2011

A new report underlines the importance of a strong creative sector to the UK economy. Gerry Morrissey asks why the Government are forcing cuts on the BBC that will damage the foundations of that success?

A new report - 'Risky Business' - by London-based Think-Tank Demos highlights the misperception among many investors about the risks associated with the creative sector.

It debunks the often-expressed view that this sector is somehow 'special' and that it lacks business sense. That it is populated by creators who are more interested in pursuing their personal passions than they are in delivering profitable world-beating work.

But while there is little to disagree with in the thrust of the report, it raises questions about the huge impact that the planned downgrading of quality at the BBC will have upon the wider economy.

BECTU General Secretary Gerry Morrissey said:

"This report underlines the huge contribution that people who work in the entertainment industries make to economic development of the UK. This is a sector that all governments need to take more seriously. We need to understand where growth and jobs can be created."

The report says:

"While the BBC’s first priority is to create great broadcasting for licence-fee payers, the BBC is a UK public asset and should maximise its positive impact on the creative economy wherever possible."

Gerry Morrissey said:

"For various political reasons, successive governments have downplayed the central role that BBC investment and capacity building has played in the huge success of our creative sectors. BBC investment allows the UK to punch hugely above its weight in an industry that is strategically vital as the knowledge economy grows."

"This short-sighted vendetta, forcing a licence-fee freeze on the BBC,  has nothing to do with government debt and in forcing a cut in quality standards, it is a false economy of the highest order. These cuts will hit jobs in the short term - and our capacity in this sector in the long-term. We're throwing away a huge British advantage here."

"Our members will fight these cuts - and we urge anyone who cares about the economic contribution that the creative sector makes to join us in this campaign."

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