Throughout the UK’s recent economic woes the Services sector – comprising the vast majority of freelancers, contractors and small businesses – consistently outperformed all other areas of the economy and, as the UK has been slowly hauling itself back into growth, Services have been growing faster than ever.

A recent report from the Office for National Statistics has highlighted the contribution particularly of the creative sector – encompassing film, TV, music, the written word, advertising, design and many other disciplines. Collectively this sector contributed £71 billion to the UK economy in 2012 – a 9.4% rise on the year before, making the UK’s creatives the fastest-growing sector in the country overall. This growth almost doubled that of the UK economy as a whole, which recorded 5.4% growth in the same year.

Underscoring just how much the sector has grown, the ONS pointed out that creatives accounted for 2.9% of the UK in 2008, and now contribute 5.2%.

Employment in the sector also saw healthy growth, jumping 8.6% between 2011 and 2012, while the wider economy only managed 0.7%. Maria Miller, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport said of the findings:

“These incredible statistics are confirmation that the creative industries consistently punch well above their weight, outperforming all the other main industry sectors, and are a powerhouse within the U.K. economy.

“We are committed to ensuring that the energy, innovation, skills and talent existing in this dynamic sector continue to translate into economic success and provide a remarkable platform from which we can showcase Britain to the world.”