A new Culture & Commerce Taskforce, chaired by the Lord Mayor of the City of London William Russell has been set up to tackle the ‘cultural catastrophe’, caused by COVID-19 and faced by the creative sector both in the City and across London.
Senior leaders from a range of sectors, including financial and professional services, tech firms and cultural organisations will meet over the next three months to develop new ways in which London’s cultural and commercial sectors can work together to support creative businesses and maintain London’s competitive advantage as a global business hub.
The joint initiative has been set up by the Lord Mayor, the City of London Corporation and Culture Mile, its cultural district. This will form an integral part of the Lord Mayor’s Global UK: The New Future mayoral theme.
Lord Mayor of the City of London William Russell said, “Cultural and creative industries form a key part of the City’s economy and play a vital role in making the City a great place to do business.
“As the fourth largest funder of heritage and cultural activities in the UK and custodian of some of London’s leading arts institutions, the City of London Corporation is stepping forward to lead this Culture and Commerce Taskforce, recognising the vital importance of London’s cultural and creative industries to the future of our city.”
Prior to the pandemic, the creative sector was a major part of the economy. The City of London welcomed 21 million visitors in 2019, spending £2.1 billion, supporting 1,800 businesses and 20,000 jobs and the UK’s wider creative sector was growing at five times the rate of the wider economy.
It is estimated that the creative industries will be hit twice as hard as the wider economy in 2020, with a projected GVA shortfall of £29 billion. London will be hardest hit with a £14.8 billion drop in GVA, and more than a quarter of total job losses, totalling in excess of 110,000 workers.
Cultural and creative industries play a key role in the commercial success of all sectors – fuelling innovation, stimulating creativity, supporting well-being and developing fusion skills across the business ecosystem, as well as being a driving factor for attracting workers to work in the City.
The Culture & Commerce Taskforce will support the development of a renewed creative sector that drives economic growth and maintains the City of London’s competitive advantage.
Justine Simons OBE, Deputy Mayor for Culture and the Creative Industries said, “Culture is in London’s DNA and is a huge driver of our economy, but Covid-19 has had a devastating impact on our creative industries with countless closures and cancellations putting hundreds of thousands of jobs at risk.
“These vital industries urgently need our support, and together with the Culture and Commerce Taskforce we will do all we can to protect jobs and ensure our creative economy is able to play a key role in London’s economic recovery.”