A new report highlighting the part subsidised art plays in the UK’s “booming” creative industries has been backed by leading figures from the commercial sector. 

Production shot from Les Misérables
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By VillageTheatre (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Successful public investment in the arts is “the bedrock for growth in the wider creative industries,” according to a new report which is calling for continued support for the arts. The second in a series of policy reports from the Creative Industries Federation (CIF) highlights the importance of public arts funding to the UK’s “booming” creative industries.

According to the latest figures from the Centre for Economics and Business Research, arts and culture contributed £7.7bn to the UK economy in 2013, in terms of gross value added (GVA). This is a 9.9% increase on the previous year – higher than any other industrial sector. Director of Policy and Research at Arts Council England (ACE), Richard Russell, said: “The arts and culture sector is more than paying its way in the returns it brings to the Treasury.”

This growth in the creative industries has taken place during a time of cuts. ACE’s Grant-in-Aid funding has been reduced by 29% over the past five years. Russell said the data “tells a story of resilience and efficiency, and how the sector has, without losing its creative ambition, succeeded in making more productive use of public funds”.

A number of industry figures have spoken out in support of CIF’s assertion that publicly funded art is a driver for growth in the commercial creative industries. Chris Hirst, European CEO of Havas Global Communications and Advertising, said: “There is no question that it enriches advertising.” And Robert Noble, Deputy Managing Director of Cameron Mackintosh, said: “Commercial theatre does not operate in a vacuum – we rely on public investment in the arts for many things – funding the education and training of actors and technicians, supporting artists and writers in taking creative risks to develop their talent and enabling innovative productions to be brought to the stage.”

The reports are published as the arts sector braces itself for a further round of cuts in the autumn spending review. Government departments can expect to share cuts of around £20bn, but Chancellor George Osborne pledged that “no year will see cuts as deep as those required in 2011-12 and 2012-13”.

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A photo of Frances Richens