New research from the Centre for Economic & Business Research (CEBR)  commissioned by Arts Council England has shown that the government’s Culture Recovery Fund will help the cultural sector return to a pre-Covid level of growth earlier than expected.

The report predicts that the Culture Recovery Fund will boost the sector’s Gross Value Added (GVA) by £1.4billion and will help it return to its pre-lockdown level by 2022; a full year earlier than was anticipated without government intervention. The research shows the sector is set to be worth £15.2billion to the economy by 2025.

The research found that the sector has lost an estimated 23% of its GVA in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but that by investing £1.57billion in the sector at a pivotal point, the Culture Recovery Fund should enable the sector to quickly bounce back after the crisis.

Further analysis from the CEBR on the contribution of the Arts & Culture sector to the UK economy demonstrates that culture made a huge economic contribution to the UK prior to the pandemic

Its findings showed that the sector...

- was worth £13.5billion to the UK economy in 2018, up from £12.8billion the previous year, and contributed £3.4billion in tax. The research shows the sector is set to grow to £15.2billion by 2025.

- created good jobs, employing 233,000 people, a larger workforce than Sainsbury’s. These roles were on average more productive than those in sectors such as manufacturing and professional, scientific and technical activities, with an average of £72,000 GVA per full-time equivalent worker, compared to the UK average of £56,700. The sector also supported £28.9billion of GVA and 454,000 full-time equivalent jobs through its supply chains.

- supported the wider creative industries, one of the fastest-growing areas of the economy, and brought visitors to high streets near cultural attractions.

- contributed to the government’s 'levelling up' agenda by supporting the economy in the North and Midlands. In these areas, the sector generated £3.3billion GVA, supported 44,000 full-time jobs, and boosted productivity in the wider creative industries.

- was larger than the agricultural, forestry and fishing industries combined.

The CEBR’s report comes at the same time as another piece of research by Metro Dynamics, which found that culture “acts as an R&D lab for the creative industries, encouraging experimentation and, in turn, driving innovation and commercial activity”.

Previous research by NESTA showed that having a cultural centre in a town or city makes those working in other local creative industries such as film or advertising more productive, with their wages rising by more than 7%.

Together, the reports show the importance of the government’s action to support the sector and allow it to continue to provide ideas and talent to the UK’s creative industries, which brought over £100billion to the economy before lockdown.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: "I know that recent months have been challenging and uncertain times for the arts, culture & heritage sectors, but the findings in this report are welcome news.

"Thanks to our £1.57billion Culture Recovery Fund, these hugely valuable sectors will be able to build back from this crisis sooner, boosting the country’s economic recovery and, more importantly, enriching people’s lives."

Sir Nicholas Serota, Chair of Arts Council England, said: “These figures demonstrate that, beyond the value of the arts to the lives of people across the country, the cultural sector is an economic force in its own right, as well as an essential pipeline for talent and ideas into the wider creative industries - one of our fastest-growing sectors before the pandemic. By investing through the Culture Recovery Fund, the government is helping to protect the sector, ensuring that it can bounce back more quickly and play a vital role in the national recovery as we emerge from the pandemic.”

The full set of research is available here. From 8 October, the report will be available here. The Arts Council is now working to distribute the Culture Recovery Fund as quickly as possible. £3.36million has already been invested in 136 live-music venues across England, with more announcements soon to follow.

Darren Henley, CEO of Arts Council England, said: “Thanks to the government’s Culture Recovery Fund, we’re helping cultural organisations to continue to be the beating hearts of their communities. We know that creative professionals and creative organisations enrich lives in villages, towns and cities across the country. Through this Fund we’re determined to continue to deliver on the government’s plans for levelling up opportunities for people across the country.”