The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has today urged the Government to ensure London receives its fair share of arts funding as he warned that pulling the curtain down on the capital’s creative industries will not put other towns and cities in the spotlight.
A City Hall report published today has laid bare the challenges facing the capital’s creative industries and the wider impact of the Government’s levelling up agenda on London. It highlights that funding for culture in the capital is ‘insufficient’ and that the most recent Arts Council England grants cuts were significant and damaging to organisations in the capital, with a quarter of organisations in London losing funding and 10 per cent having to leave London altogether.
The capital has been overlooked by or received only small proportions from a series of Government grants including HMG Community Renewal Fund, Cultural Development Fund, Creative Industries Sector Vision, The Towns Fund and DCMS Youth Investment Fund. Last week the Government’s Creative Industries Sector Vision included welcome funding for London Fashion Week and London Film Festival, however the bulk of the funding did not come to London.
The report also shows that just four per cent of the Government’s wider £23 billion of levelling up funding is directed to London, despite 12 per cent of England’s most deprived neighbourhoods being in the capital. This shortfall is damaging to London, its world-class cultural sector and creative industries, and the rest of the UK.
London’s creative industries are a huge success story contributing £13bn in taxes in 2019/20 and supporting businesses across the country through their supply chains. The sector attracts visitors from across the world and wields enormous soft power, helping to enhance Britain’s reputation abroad. The creative industries are the capital’s third largest sector, after finance and real estate, with 24p of production generated elsewhere in the UK for every pound consumed or invested in London.
The UK creative industries have outperformed the UK economy as a whole and by ensuring London gets a proportionate share of funding while also supporting other regions, the Government can use these successful industries to drive the rest of the UK’s economy forward.
The Mayor is committed to doing all he can to support the capital’s creative industries and has funded the creation of affordable workspaces for artists and the development of East Bank – London’s single biggest investment in culture and education for over a century.
He is investing in Creative Enterprise Zones to drive innovation within the sector from the grassroots and promoting culture and the talents of local creatives through the London Borough of Culture programme. The Mayor has also helped preserve grassroots venues through the Culture and Community Spaces at Risk programme, and championed our city through the Let’s Do London tourism campaign.
Between April 2022 and March 2023, the Mayor’s funding for the Creative Economy Growth Programme, Film London, the London Design Festival, the British Fashion Council and the London Games Festival delivered in excess of £968m in sales and inward investment for businesses in the creative industries. Funding helped to create over 9,000 employment opportunities in the film industry.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “London’s culture and creative industries are the envy of the world and a huge driver of the UK’s economy and it is vital that they are properly funded. Instead these organisations are facing unsustainable gaps in resource while dealing with spiralling operational costs, soaring energy bills, Brexit bureaucracy, and the ongoing impact of the pandemic
“Pulling the curtain down on London’s cultural offering is not going to help shine a spotlight on other towns and cities. These funding decisions will have lasting social and economic consequences and I am urging Ministers to ensure that meaningful support is made available nationwide. All regions need to benefit from future funding and a successful London means a successful UK which is why we must work together as we continue to build a better London for everyone.”
Moira Sinclair, Chair of the Mayor’s Cultural Leadership Board, said: “We should be rightly proud of the country’s artists, producers, filmmakers and exhibition makers – their award winning talents are admired across the globe. But we should also be alert to and protect the delicate and precious networks that sustain this energy and creativity. Cutting out a central stem risks damaging the roots and shoots, and that doesn’t make any sense. The whole system – in London, in the regions and nationally – needs investment and nurturing. The joy the work brings and the returns are more than worth it.”
Bernard Donoghue OBE, Director, ALVA – The Association of Leading Visitor Attractions, said: “London’s cultural and creative industries are global leaders, benefitting London and the whole of the UK. They are not just crucial for creating new, sustainable jobs, but also for strengthening the UK’s ‘soft’ and cultural power and influence around the world. When the world looks to London’s creative industries – in tech, film, gaming, fashion, design, architecture, theatre, performance – for inspiration, to invest, to purchase and to follow, we all benefit.”