Britain is now the largest cultural export in the world - surpassing even the United States. Cultural exports include music, television shows and video games. With cool bands such as Arctic Monkeys, the Kooks and Maximo Park, the manufacture of computer games, books as as the Harry Potter series and top TV programmes such as Pop Idol (which became American Idol in the US), Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?, The Office and Strictly Come Design (all shows which became hits in the US) Britain currently leads the world in cultural innovation...

Creative knack makes 4bn for Britain

By Chris Hastings, Arts and Media Editor, Sunday Telegraph

The Telegraph

Show business is as valuable to the British economy as the financial services sector, a new report on the arts and creative industries reveals.

British rocker Lily Allen performing at a rain-soaked Glastonbury yesterday

Led by figures such as Simon Cowell, the music producer, and the author J K Rowling, the creative economy will be described in a Government-commissioned study tomorrow as "a great unsung success story" that generates more than 4 billion of exports annually.

Cultural exports from Britain, including film, music and television, outstrip those of any other country. More than 1.8 million people are employed in the creative sector, which includes the fashion world, computer software development and electronic publishing.

Will Hutton, the chief executive of the Work Foundation, which carried out the research, said:

"There is no doubt that Britain's creative knack is something to celebrate. The stuff that creates new insights, delights and experiences, that stirs our senses and enriches our lives, is also the stuff that is propelling a larger slice of our economic output."

The Arctic Monkeys

The conclusions of the report, which will be unveiled by Tessa Jowell, the Culture Secretary, are the latest indication of Britain's growing status in the creative arts.

British television stations such as the BBC and ITV make 500 million a year from selling formats to foreign broadcasters. Spin-off versions of hits like Pop Idol, The Office, The X Factor and Strictly Come Dancing top the ratings in America, Australia and Europe. American broadcasters are making versions of hit British dramas such as Viva Blackpool, Life on Mars and Wild at Heart.

British personalities including Sir Elton John, the Rolling Stones, the actor Daniel Radcliffe and the footballer David Beckham ranked high in the Forbes list of the world's 100 most powerful celebrities unveiled this month.

A new generation of artists is also raising revenue away from home. Lily Allen, who performed at a rain-soaked Glastonbury yesterday, James Blunt, who topped the US Billboard charts in 2005, Snow Patrol, Muse and Keane are among acts that helped Britain's music industry generate as much money as its textile trade. In fashion, figures such as Stella McCartney, Vivienne Westwood and Paul Smith are as successful as their rivals from Italy.

However, the report does sound a note of caution, warning that success will depend on more targeted public investment and better policy-making.

Christopher Hampton, the Oscar-winning dramatist whose hits include Dangerous Liaisons, said: "I think this report is fantastic news for the arts. But I think it just reinforces the news that the Government is less encouraging than it ought to be. It needs to do more to help this gigantically important machine."

Richard Griffiths, who starred in Equus, said of the findings: "It doesn't surprise me but the Arts Council gets less money to spend on the entire country than the Germans spend on Berlin or Munich individually."