This article analyses creative industries policy in the English regions under New Labour (1997–2010). It examines the ideas behind regional creative industries policies (RCIPs) and their implementation. Focusing on the activities of the English regional development agencies, the primary bodies responsible for the implementation of creative industries policy in the British regions, the article places regional cultural policy during the New Labour period within its broader political, social and economic contexts. It explains and evaluates New Labour’s RCIPs, arguing that creative industries policy at the regional level changed over the course of New Labour’s three terms of office, becoming increasingly economistic at the expense of a more social democratic vision of regional equality and democracy. We identify three issues that were problematic for New Labour’s RCIP: a reliance on the idea of “clusters”, commercialisation and shifting regional governance.
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