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

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

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.

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