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Arts Council Report: Contribution of the arts and culture industry to the national economy

Arts Council have released a report to measure the important value of art and culture to national and regional economies.

Arts Council England (ACE) have published a new report: Contribution of the arts and culture sector to the national economy. Written by Cebr (Centre for Economic and Business Research), the report provides us with new evidence that the arts and culture sector makes a strong, tangible contribution to the national economy.

ACE first asked the Centre for Economics and Business Research to take a hard look at the economic effects of investment in art and culture in 2013. The result was an eye opening report, showing how the nation as a whole benefitted from a modest amount of public investment.

In that first, 2013 report, the Cebr found that based on figures for 2011, the arts and culture sector had a turnover of £12.4 billion. This updated version of the report shows that figure has swelled to £15.1 billion based on 2013 figures, growing by nearly a quarter in three years.

Arts and culture incubates the talent for the wider creative sector, which provides more than one in 20 jobs in the UK. So this growth is good news for the future of the creative sector as a whole, and for the national economy.

If you look at the figures for art and culture in terms of Gross Value Added (GVA), which is the net benefit once the external cost has been stripped out, there’s also pleasing progress – a buoyant 35.8% increase between 2010 and 2013 to a respectable £7.7billion.

And it’s progress that is benefitting the workers in the sector. The new report reveals the average arts and culture worker is paid well over the national average, at nearly £28,000. That wage rose 2.4 percent between 2010 and 2013, against a backdrop of relatively low inflation.

Employment is strong in the sector too. This report shows a four percent increase in the numbers of those employed, from 123,000 to 128,000 between 2010 and 2013. The kinds of skills learned in the arts feed the expanding need of a jobs market in which ‘traditional occupations’ are being replaced by a more knowledge and skills based economy. The growth of the sector will be of particular interest to young people entering into the jobs market.

The report also contains some data that is of particular significance. For every £1 of turnover art and culture generates, 51p of GVA is added to the economy. That is up by 4p per £1 since the last report. What does this mean? Well, it shows that the arts and culture sector have successfully cut costs, increasing their GVA, and are thereby making a greater contribution to the UK’s GDP. It tells a story of resilience and efficiency, and how the sector has, without losing its creative ambition, succeeded in making more productive use of public funds.

Cebr’s positive findings confirm the results of other recent reports, including the most recent on the Economic Impact of Museums is England, published in March, which found that our museums contributed £1.45 billion of economic output to the national economy.

Seen in this context, public investment in art and culture is a winner. The sector grows each year, yet costs us less and is more productive. And among its products are those most precious to all of us - entertainment, inspiration, happiness and wellbeing.

To download the full report click here