Arts contribute more to UK economy than Agriculture!

With further cuts to the arts sector on the horizon, the chair of Arts Council England has warned of this effects this will have on the 10.8bn sector.

We only have to look at the growth of Liverpool’s and Manchester’s cultural offer to know that arts and culture attract tourists into the towns and cities across the UK.

Sir Nicholas Serota was speaking as ACE published a study quantifying the contribution of arts and culture to the UK’s GDP. It showed that the sector added £10.8bn to the economy at the last count in 2016, £390m more than the previous year, more than the agricultural sector and roughly equal to cities such as Liverpool and Sheffield.

He praises the resilience of the theatres, galleries and other arts organisations, that continue to thrive despite the ongoing funding cuts saying, “It tells you about the brilliance of the people running these organisations, frankly.

“It tells you about their commitment and determination in spite of the cuts. It also tells you if they had a bit more money they would do something rather wonderful with it.”

The arts sector used to be seen as ‘airy fairy’ and only for the ‘middle classes’, now its big business and seen as a primary reason to visit a destination. Just look at the Giants in Liverpool – but this takes investment.

Here in Southport we are lucky, we have The Atkinson, a multi art-for venue that since opening in 2013 has developed a top programme of performing arts, a wonderful museum that gives Sefton and Southport its pride of place and tells the story of the borough. An Egyptology Collection and a gallery that has hosted Matisse, Gormley and the national touring  Vikings exhibition.

Southport Theatre and Floral Hall are undergoing a rebirth under the new Waterfront brand and new management company – now attracting artists like Graham Nash, Don Mclean, Soul II Soul alongside the TV comedians and West End shows like Avenue Q. We are working hard to bring the spaces to life and develop a programme for all ages .

Yet, with local authority cuts threatening libraries, museums and the arts, private and public sector partnerships are vital. We need to create a place that people want to come and live, work in and visit. Arts, culture and leisure is key to people’s quality of life. It’s not just about entertainment, its about health and wellbeing, socialisation, education and enjoyment.

The recent report commissioned from the Centre for Economic and Business Research, states that 37% of arts organisations have become more risk-averse as a result of funding cuts.

Here comes the maths…
The arts and culture sector contributes £2.8bn to the Treasury via taxation, and that the sector’s total contribution to GDP, including employment and supply chains as well as the £10.8bn direct impact, amounted to about £23bn.

Have a read – the full Guardian article can be read HERE

Support the arts and culture in your community and once it’s gone…it’s not coming back!

join our e-newsletter