William Eichler 05 August 2020

Council chiefs call on Government to help local creative industries

New guidance has been published to help over-stretched councils support their local creative industries recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

The latest Government statistics show that creative industries, including small and medium businesses and organisations that specialise in arts, culture, design, music and TV & film, contribute more than £111bn to the UK economy.

Many councils are trying to support those working within the creative sector in their areas. However, significant funding pressures as a result of the pandemic undermine the effort.

The new guidance, published today by the Local Government Association (LGA) and Creative Industries Federation, will help councils learn from best practice when looking to implement new creative economy strategies in their areas.

Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, chair of the LGA’s Culture, Tourism and Sport Board, said that local creative industries can be the ‘cornerstone of recovery’ for communities dealing with the impacts of COVID-19.

‘Councils have a unique perspective of viewing the creative economy through place and this guide will help councils across the country to unlock the potential of their creative communities to bounce forwards towards a better society and economy,’ he said.

‘We are calling on the Government to support this work and to ensure that councils retain the planning powers they need to curate their communities and grow their local economies.’

Caroline Norbury, chief executive of Creative Industries Federation & Creative England, commented: ‘Our creative sector is an economic powerhouse. The creative industries bring people into our towns and cities. They are intrinsic to building atmosphere, to a sense of place and civic pride, and investment into creativity is critical if we want to level-up the country.

‘In order to build back better, we must learn from the past. Research shows that following the 2008 financial crash, previously strong regional creative sector growth trends fell away, and growth coalesced around fewer clusters once more.

‘Experience shows that when crisis hits, the regions suffer. As we plan for an economic recovery, regional focus is key. We need to use local knowledge and devolved power to build tailored, community-owned responses from the bottom up.’

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