We, in the UK, were told today that the budget would be one to support the makers and doers. In delivering the budget, the government demonstrated, once again, that it is out of touch with making and doing. It has an anachronistic view of what makers and doers are engaged in and their nineteenth century notion of manufacturing would be risible, if not so tragic. While it has been government policy, for decades, to allow manufacturing and export to wither on the vine, they have belatedly decided that it is important, without the first clue about how to support it, in the twenty first century.
Here are the things that were not mentioned in the budget:
- No specific support for software innovation, online e-commerce businesses, or electronics manufacturing.
- No improvement in the Stone Age broadband provision that would be the infrastructure needed for global digital businesses, based in the UK, to thrive.
- No direct support for digital artists, record companies, movie makers, games developers and other digital creatives, even though these are major export earners.
- No specific support for the electronic, product, or industrial design industry.
- Nothing to support start ups or ventures in high technology.
- Nothing to support start ups or ventures in the digital creative industries.
- Most self-employed people earn under £10,000 a year. Many of these are artists and creatives. They’re underemployed and barely making enough to survive, but there was nothing to help them, in this budget.
- No reform of the patent system, which is a major drain on technology businesses, especially when exporting to Europe and the far East.
- Export guarantees don’t help industries that deliver their goods as intellectual property, online. There was nothing in the budget to support exporters of intellectual property.
- No mention of funding for artists or to develop future creatives and designers.
The cupboard was bare for major exporters, makers and doers in the modern economy. Steelmaking, house building, oil and gas and the airline industry scored well. So did financial services, via the radical changes to pensions and annuities. No change there, then. The government world view is that making and doing involves dirt, grime, sweat, filth and grease; not intellect, aesthetics, imagination and cleverness.
The budget was bereft of imagination and completely ignored how most makers and doers actually make and do, these days. Artists and creatives were dealt their annual kick in the teeth.