From HEAD to TOEDecember 2, 2022
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Local culture is key to recovery and prosperity
Culture, heritage and creativity are essential to our future national prosperity, levelling up and recovery from crisis, is the key finding of a new report by the Local Government Association's (LGA) Independent Commission in Culture and Local Government - launched today.The report, ‘Cornerstones of Culture’, says that greater collaborative work between councils and cultural partners, combined with streamlined place-based funding from government, is crucial to supporting one of the fastest growing parts of the economy.
It identified four key 'cornerstones' essential to a healthy local cultural ecosystem:
Seventy-five years after councils first invested in the arts in our communities, following World War II, local culture still has an important contribution to make for local authorities. It can be used to support mental wellbeing, provide educational opportunity, and boost the economy as part of our recovery from the pandemic and cost-of-living crisis.
According to the LGA, local government invests £1.1 billion directly in cultural services each year in England, but this funding is under significant strain with the gap as calculated before the 2022 Autumn Statement standing at £2.4 billion.
Public funding is an essential part of the ecology of the arts and culture in the UK, which underpins growth in the creative industries and visitor economy. In 2019 the creative industries contributed £115.9 billion to the UK and accounted for 2.2 million jobs. These benefits can only be secured in the long-term with a sustainable funding settlement for local government.
“The pandemic was a powerful reminder that people reach for culture in times of crisis, as well of those of joy and celebration. Access to culture and creativity provides hope and inspiration and enriches people’s lives. That access must be fair for all."
“The publication of this report is not the end of the story. I hope our findings and recommendations will help councils, regional bodies, cultural arms-length bodies and national government to work together with cultural organisations and communities to weather the latest storm and secure the future of this vital community infrastructure.”
“I feel privileged to have been invited to contribute to the Commission on Culture. It has been timely opportunity to champion the crucial role Local Government and Local Authority Officers need to play to ensure all children and young people can access brilliant arts and culture where they live."
Spread the word
Today, @LGAcomms has launched the final report of their #CultureCommission, exploring the value of publicly funded culture in our communities. Alongside the benefits that culture provides, the report highlights what's needed for the sector to thrive. www.local.gov.uk/publications/cornerstones-culture