Economic Contribution of Arts and Culture in the UK Reaches New Level

Stopgap Dance Company – one of the organisations involved in the primary research for the study

Economic Contribution of Arts and Culture in the UK Reaches New Level

Figures show that arts and culture has surpassed agriculture in contribution to the UK economy.

The Arts Council of England has today published the results of a new study commissioned from the Centre for Economic and Business Research. The study uses data from the Office for National Statistics and surveys carried out with arts and culture organisations and shows an increased contribution by the arts sector to the economy.

The report, titled Contribuion of the Arts and Culture Industry to the UK Economy, measures the economic ‘footprint’ of the arts and culture industry in terms of direct, indirect and wider impacts. These include jobs created by the industry and the effect on communities where arts employees spend their earnings. 

Findings from the report highlight that the industry’s economic contribution to the UK is now worth £10.8 billion, overtaking the agricultural sector’s £10.09 billion, and which roughly equates to the overall contribution of cities such as Liverpool and Sheffield.

Chair of Arts Council England, Sir Nicholas Serota, 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.

In 2016, the arts and culture directly generated £21.2 billion in turnover and provided 137,250 jobs. It also supplies a further £23 billion and 363,700 jobs through supply chains and spending by employees.

The study also shows that the average weekly spend by UK citizens on arts and culture rose by 22.9%, from £59.70 in 2006 to £73.35 in  2016.

Additionally, it was found that some sectors, such as book publishing and sound recording/music publishing have higher levels of economic productivity – for example, total GVA (Gross Value Added) of £98,000 and £100,000 respectively in comparison to a £62,000 industry average. The overall economy’s average is £47,000.

The full report can be read below. For more, visit

Published on 17 April 2019


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