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Arts and culture sector contributes more than agriculture to UK economy

Contribution of the arts and culture industry to the UK economy, a report commissioned by Arts Council England and published on 17 April 2019, shows that the economic contribution from arts and culture is now higher than the UK agricultural sector’s £10bn and roughly equal to that of cities such as Liverpool and Sheffield.

The sector contributes £2.8bn a year to the Treasury via taxation, and generates a further £23bn a year and 363,700 jobs through supply chains and spending by employees.

Productivity in the arts and culture industry between 2009 and 2016 was greater than that of the economy as a whole, with gross value added per worker at £62,000 for arts and culture, compared to £46,800 for the wider UK economy.

The report also finds that there are various spillover benefits of the arts and culture industry beyond the immediate economic impact, with arts organisations supplying skills and talent to the commercial creative sector and playing an important role in local regeneration:

  • Arts and cultural organisations frequently form part of a wider creative economy fuelling regeneration in an area. 69% of surveyed organisations felt that they are part of a ‘creative cluster’ in their local area; 52% are involved in local regeneration networks; and 46% have had buildings regenerated as a direct result of their actions.
  • 82% of surveyed organisations reported that they provide support for local artists and businesses, helping recipients to develop skills that make them more productive and employable in the commercial creative industries.

Sir Nicholas Serota, Chair of Arts Council England, said:

‘Latest figures show arts and culture is a thriving industry delivering huge benefits for our economy.  Public investment in the arts is fuelling local regeneration across the country, pushing skills and talent to the commercial sector, and driving the world class reputation of our creative industries.’

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