Arts ‘contributes £7 to GDP for every £1 subsidised’, report finds
The Arts Council has responded to Maria Miller’s call for an “economic argument” for funding, publishing a report claiming the arts sector makes a £7 contribution to GDP for every £1 of government subsidy.
Maria Miller, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport.
Maria Miller, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. Photo: EPA
Hannah Furness By Hannah Furness7:00AM BST 07 May 2013 Comments7 Comments
The Arts Council, which plans to distribute £2 billion of government and lottery funding to organisations across the UK before 2015, has argued the culture industry is an “undeniably vibrant sector”, which provides “impressive” returns on investment.
It has today published an independent economic analysis, which found the sector currently makes up 0.4 per cent of GDP compared with just 0.1 per cent of investment.
While it does not make a causal link, it found that for every £1 of subsidy provided to the arts and culture industry, the sector made a £7 contribution to GDP.
This, the report found, was a higher return than that by the health, wholesale and retail industries, with a turnover of £12.8 billion.
Alan Davey, chief executive of Arts Council England, today hailed the findings, saying the industry could now “confidently confirm the impressive scale of the arts and culture industry and its distinctive strengths and contribution”.
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The report follows a call from culture secretary Maria Miller for the arts sector to make an “economic argument” for its continued funding ahead of a spending review.
Speaking to an audience of museum, theatre and gallery directors last month, she said: “I know this will not be to everyone’s taste but in an age of austerity, when times are tough and money is tight, our focus must be on culture’s economic impact.”
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport last year outlined a 30 per cent cut in grant aid for the Arts Council from £452 million to £350 million by 2014/15.
The new study, by the Centre for Economics and Business Research, used data from the Office of National Statistics to calculate revenues, costs of production and “value-added” across the arts, including theatre, dance, literature, visual arts, music and museums.
It found businesses in the arts and culture sector generated an aggregate turnover of £12.4bn in 2011, with £856m of that coming from tourism alone.
The sector supports 110,600 full-time employees across UK, with £1 paid in salaries returning £2.01 in the wider economy.
The report also highlighted the importance of investment on communities, and suggested the arts help to boost national productivity by developing “critical thinking”, “creative problem-solving” and communication.
Mr Davey said of the sector: “It is an undeniably vibrant sector with strong links to the wider economy and a key part of our economic future.”
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