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Cultural sector worth £5.9bn to UK economy

Arts Council England has published the findings of an independent report claiming that the arts and culture sector accounts for 0.4% of gross domestic product, with £5.9 billion worth of gross value added to the UK economy in 2011.

The results form part of an investigation by the Centre for Economics and Business Research that ACE says is the “first comprehensive analysis to determine the value of art and culture to the modern economy at a national scale”.

CEBR’s report defines arts and culture as including book publishing, sound recording and music publishing, performing arts, support activities to the performing arts, artistic creation and operation of arts facilities.

The report found that these areas combined provide 0.45% of total employment in the UK – on average 110,600 full-time equivalent employees. The performing arts were the biggest contributor to employment with around a third of this total.

Meanwhile, the report also reveals that the sector’s contribution to the UK economy has actually increased since the recession began in 2008, despite turnover in the sector falling slightly in the period.

ACE chief executive Alan Davey said: “We fund arts and culture because they have a unique ability to fire our imaginations, to inspire and entertain us. The contribution culture makes to our quality of life, as a society and as individuals, will always be our primary concern. But at a time when public finances are under such pressure, it is also right to examine all the benefits that investment in arts and culture can bring – and to consider how we can make the most effective use of that contribution.

“I am grateful to CEBR for their comprehensive and enlightening report and I am gratified that it quantifies what we have long understood. That culture plays a vital part in attracting tourism to the tune of £856 million a year; that arts centres and activities transform our towns and cities and drive regeneration, making the choice to maintain investment in culture a forward thinking one for local authorities; and that the arts support the creative industries and improve their productivity.

The full report is available to download from www.artscouncil.org.uk

The report’s key findings:

  • Arts and culture make up 0.4% of GDP – a significant return on the less than 0.1% of government spending invested in the sector
  • Arts and culture is a sector of significant scale with a turnover of £12.4 billion and a GVA of £5.9 billion in 2011
  • The sector’s peak turnover was in 2008 at £12.8 billion, before falling by around £1 billion in 2009 and recovering to £12.4 billion by 2011
  • Arts and culture generate more per pound invested than the health, wholesale and retail, and professional and business services sectors
  • The arts and culture sector provides 0.45% of total UK employment and 0.48% of total employment in England
  • At least £856 million per annum of spending by tourists visiting the UK can be attributed directly to arts and culture
  • The economic contribution of the arts and cultural sector has grown since 2008 despite the UK economy as a whole remaining below its output level before the global financial crisis
  • The arts and culture industry pays nearly 5% above the UK media salary of £26,095
  • Being located in an area with the twice the average level of cultural density could increase house prices by an average of £26,817

Information drawn from Alistair Smith, ‘Arts worth £5.9bn to UK economy’ – report, The Stage News, Tuesday, May 7, 2013


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