‘Culture key to cities’ growth’ – report

Investment in culture is the key to our cities’ growth, according to a report published today.

The report from the year-long Cultural Cities Enquiry chaired by Dame Jayne-Anne Gadhia calls for the creation of “Cultural City Compacts” to draw on the resources of culture, business, education and local leaders – crucially with financial support from national government - to embed the arts and culture in civic life.

The result, it says, will be a regeneration of high streets and post-industrial quarters, with creative clusters, supporting local creative talent, developing tourist revenue and building civic engagement.

“The creative industries is the fastest growing sector of the UK economy” writes Dame Jayne-Anne in her foreword., “We have the legacy, the talent and the opportunity to do more, and to use culture to unite communities, encourage investment and accelerate economic growth.

“And we have the leadership to make this happen.”

The independent report, which has the support of the arts councils of England, Wales and Scotland, Belfast City Council, Core Cities and Key Cities, makes far reaching recommendations.

  • Create Cultural City Compacts with national government funding
  • Establish and enhance collaborative networks of cultural organisations to share expertise and infrastructure, and support joint investment
  • Promote contactless giving to cultural organisations
  • Set up place-based Corporate Social Venture Funds with local business investment to provide repayable financial support to grow creative social enterprises
  • Help smaller organisations access tax relief and extend present schemes
  • Review merits of a tourist levy
  • Create and monitor diversity targets and talent routes
  • Establish portfolio approaches to cultural property assets to maintain community ownership

Key Cities is a group of 20 English cities which have together gross value added of £110bn and a joint population of 5.6m, which in 2013 were officially brought together to work together to boost their regional economies.

“The cultural sector is one of the strongest areas of growth in the economy, with potential to create over a million jobs in the next decade, thanks to the bold and intelligent decisions made by our mid-sized cities” said Alan Waters, leader of Norwich Council and cultural portfolio holder in Key Cities. “Investment in cultural projects represents a significant contribution towards the UK’s economic future. It’s crucial that these cities continue to set ambitions high in the face of the current restrictive financial climate.”

Arts Council England chair Sir Nicholas Serota added: “Successful cities are those that create opportunities for people to earn their living, make friends, bring up families and engage in leisure and sport. Culture makes a vital contribution to these activities, while the creative industries are our fastest growing business sector.

“This Report shows how we can make best use of our cities’ cultural assets to build strong communities for the future.”



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