Driving growth through local government investment in the arts
Local Government Association (March 2013)
The study, by the Local Government Association (LGA), highlights the many ways town halls are using the arts to bring in money to communities as well as achieving other goals such as creating jobs, filling vacant shops and reducing youth offending.
The arts provide nearly one million jobs and the 67,000 cultural businesses contribute £28 billion every year to the UK economy. It’s estimated that for every £1 spent by councils on the arts, leverage from grant aid and partnership working brings up to £4 in additional funding.
Major beneficiaries are local tourism and hospitality. The visitor economy is this country’s fifth biggest industry and one of the few sectors experiencing growth. It grew at over five times the rate of the UK economy as a whole in 2011, contributing about £115 billion. As well as attracting visitors to places, the arts encourage them to stay longer and spend more. The contribution of music, visual arts and performing arts alone exceeds £4 billion per year.
Despite Government cutting council funding by 33 per cent, many are – for now – actively protecting their arts budgets. This research shows how short-sighted it would be for the Treasury to make further cuts to local government grants, which, given the need to fund growing demands like care of the elderly, would squeeze out any further scope for such protection, and the contribution it makes to economic growth.
The report also details a joint commitment from the LGA and Arts Council England on how they will work with councils to support their efforts in arts and culture, and offers guidance on how to make the most of diminished budgets and best link them to economic aims.