Report suggests massive creative-industry losses from pandemic


No part of the creative industries have been hit harder than theatre, music and the visual arts, says a new report.

The sector has lost up to 80,000 jobs and a contribution to the economy of around £4 billion, says a report from Creative UK Group, with reference to research from Oxford Economics.

In 2019 the performing and visual arts added well over £10 billion a year (gross) to the UK economy, and employed over 314,000 people. These sectors, says the report, have lost 39 per cent of their value – around £4 billion. Music and the performing and visual arts jobs have at the same time dropped 26 per cent due to the pandemic.

The creative industries as a whole have lost an estimated £12 billion and almost 110,000 jobs.

The report suggests a government investment boost of 20 per cent over 2019 levels could generate more than 300,000 new jobs. Despite the losses, the report suggests the sector has the potential to recover faster than the rest of the economy, growing by more than a quarter in the next four years to contribute £132 billion to the economy – tellingly, £28 billion more than last year and more than the financial services, insurance and pension industries added together.

But the research says the government must act quickly to avoid different parts of the country falling behind and increasing north-south divisions.

The Creative UK Group – the former Creative Industries Federation and Creative England, which merged last year – says: “In the past decade the creative industries achieve remarkable growth. With ambitious investment, the creative sector can rebuild faster and make a major contribution to the country’s post-pandemic recovery. We can reshape this country’s future, but to realise our ambitions for tomorrow, we must invest in creativity today.”

The total economic footprint of the sector was around £178 billion in 2019, with 3.5 million jobs reliant on the creative industries – more than one in 10 UK jobs. Creative UK Group has suggested several ways the sector could be helped, from more funding to greater innovation, investment to support the role of the arts in regeneration, and training.

To accompany the report, Creative UK Group has started a #WeAreCreative campaign, which encourages creative people and businesses to showcase their work to government on social media.

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