Curatorview [Alfredo Cramerotti]

Economic impact of arts investment

Posted in nEws and rEleases by Curatorview on March 20, 2013

Arts investment brings in up to £4 for every £1 spent

Geraldine Kendall,
Museums Journal news
LGA report shows how culture funding drives economic growth

Arts investment contributes up to £4 to the local economy for every £1 spent, according to a new report published by the Local Government Association (LGA).

The report, entitled Driving growth through local government investment in the arts, showed that the arts sector provides nearly one million jobs and the UK’s 67,000 cultural businesses contribute £28 billion to the UK economy every year.

The report found that councils currently invest around £800 million every year in the arts and museums infrastructure.

In one case study, the report showed how York Museums Trust, which was losing around 37,000 visits a year before it formed a partnership agreement with the council in 2002, now attracts around 600,000 visitors and brings in £6.4m a year, offering a return on investment of around £10 of impact for every £1 spent by the council.

In a statement, the LGA said: “Despite government cutting council funding by 33%, 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.”

Recent figures released by the Department for Communities and Local Government showed that arts funding has proved a soft target for many councils however, with cultural spend by local authorities in England dropping by 7.8% in 2011-12.

In another case, Newcastle City Council was forced to row back on plans to axe its entire culture budget after a public outcry.

Flick Rea, chair of the LGA’s Culture, Tourism and Sport Board, said: “A theatre, museum or festival draws visitors who do not simply spend money on their ticket or entrance fee, but also buy meals in local restaurants, go to local shops, or perhaps stay in hotels as part of their visit.

“These people might never have visited that location without the pull of its cultural attractions.”

The LGA and Arts Council England recently signed a practical statement of purpose committing themselves to jointly supporting councils that want to boost growth through the arts.


Sarah Stannage
MA Member
14.03.2013, 12:34
The report Driving growth through local government investment in the arts also conveys the importance of Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) in positioning arts within the new economic landscape. I’ve recently undertaken research that not only explores the power of community leaders in stimulating the local creative economy but also highlights the worrying disconnect between parts of the museum sector and the formation and development of LEPs. Most LEPs have voluntary boards with ‘invited’ or ‘selected’ representatives from private, public and third sectors organisations- the reality is unless savvy cultural leaders can or do step forward to join the table the museum sector will rely heavily on ACE and local councilors promoting museums within new growth plans, which may prove challenging as both are either reviewing or having to make cuts to cultural funding. We need champions who can back the cultural sector at a grass roots level and put quality proposals forward that stand a chance in the competition for new pots of growth related investment. During a time of austerity this is an issue the museum sector can’t afford to ignore.So if I can say one thing it’s that if you’re passionate about museums and you care about the economy please recognize that ACE and the local government shouldn’t be the only people at the LEP table!

Iain Watson
MA Member
Director, Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums
14.03.2013, 08:20
This 4:1 ratio between net economic impact and spend ties in exactly with the results of an Economic Impact Study commissioned by TWAM in Autumn 2012 which showed that we created a net economic impact of £43m.

read article on Museums Association website here:

Arts investment brings in up to £4 for every £1 spent | Museums Association.

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