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Economic contribution of arts and culture report published

  • Date: 7 May 2013
  • Area: National
Cover page of The contribution of the arts and culture to the national economy report

We have published The contribution of the arts and culture to the national economy, an independent report commissioned by the Arts Council and conducted by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR).

The report uses a methodology applied regularly by the Office for National Statistics and recognised by leading economists, and is the first comprehensive analysis to determine this value to the modern economy on a national scale.

Download the report and the Arts Council's response 

The key findings include:

  • arts and culture make up 0.4 per cent of *GDP – a significant return on the less than 0.1 per cent 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
  • 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 per cent of total UK employment and 0.48 per cent 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

Alan Davey, Chief Executive, Arts Council England said: ‘We fund arts and culture because it has 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.’

The Arts Council will now consider with its partners and the arts and cultural organisations it funds how best to capitalise on the strengths the CEBR report underlines – particularly in the areas of cultural education, in driving tourism, cultural exports and the sector’s contribution to growth in the creative industries.

*GDP – Gross Domestic Product is defined as the economic value of all the finished goods and services produced within a country's borders in a specific time period 

**GVA – Gross value added is a measure in economics of the economic value of goods and services produced in an area, industry or sector of an economy