“Arts and culture has overtaken agriculture in terms of its contribution to the UK economy, according to research from Arts Council England, whose chair is warning that continuing cuts threaten further growth,” writes Mark Brown in last Tuesday’s (4/16) Guardian (U.K.). “Sir Nicholas Serota was speaking as Arts Council England published a study quantifying the contribution of arts and culture to the UK’s GDP. It showed that the sector added £10.8bn to the economy at the last count in 2016, £390m more than the previous year, more than the agricultural sector and roughly equal to cities such as Liverpool and Sheffield. At the same time the report revealed that 74% of arts organizations had been affected by public funding cuts. Serota praised the resilience and commitment of theatres, galleries and other arts organizations that continue to thrive despite receiving less public money.… The report quotes the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, which said cuts to culture budgets were having an adverse effect on staffing levels at regional venues with some ‘suffering a lack of expertise and knowledge of orchestral music.’… Serota said [the report] illustrated how … public investment in arts and culture ‘repays itself over and over again.’ ”

Posted April 23, 2019