UK facing ‘cultural catastrophe', creative body warns

A report said the impact will be felt in all parts of the UK.

The UK is facing a “cultural catastrophe”, industry leaders have warned, with the loss of more than 400,000 jobs in the sector as a result of the pandemic.

Research from Oxford Economics projects that creative industries could lose £74 billion in revenue in 2020.

A report assessed the pandemic’s impact on industries including music, film, TV, theatre, museums, galleries, publishing and architecture.

It projects that the creative sector will be hit twice as hard as the wider economy in 2020, with the impact felt in all parts of the UK and the loss of one in five creative jobs.

The Creative Industries Federation said the cultural sector is “on the brink of devastation”.

Chief executive Caroline Norbury said: “These are the industries of the future – highly innovative, resistant to automation and integral to our cultural identity. We’re about to need them more than ever.

“Our creative industries have been one of the UK’s biggest success stories but what today’s report makes clear is that, without additional government support, we are heading for a cultural catastrophe.

“If nothing is done, thousands of world-leading creative businesses are set to close their doors, hundreds of thousands of jobs will be lost and billions will be lost to our economy. The repercussions would have a devastating and irreversible effect on our country.”

It is calling for a fund for those in the creative sector “who will be hit hardest”, and wants an extension of “vital measures such as the Job Retention Scheme and the Self Employed Income Support Scheme”,

The Federation said the industry was in rude health before the pandemic, employing more than two million people and contributing £111.7 billion to the economy.

UK Theatre And Society Of London Theatre chief executive Julian Bird said: “Covid-19 has removed the sector’s trading income entirely at a stroke and thrown its business model into crisis.

“In order to rescue the performing arts sector, we call on Government to sustain the workforce, catalyse the recovery, and review insurance and liability policies to ensure this valuable asset is protected and enhanced for the future. We hope this report goes some way to helping this happen.”

Directors UK chief executive Andy Harrower said: “Government intervention is needed now to support the industry and its workforce in getting back to work, and maintaining the UK’s global position as a centre of excellence for film and television production and creative talent.”

UK Music acting chief executive Tom Kiehl said: “Year after year the UK music industry is a proven winner for our economy, job creation and exports, as well as positively impacting other sectors like tourism.

“Coronavirus has turned our world upside down, with catastrophic consequences across the industry and beyond.

“The music industry is resilient, but this means knowing when to ask for help. We need help to restart our economy, help to preserve jobs and help to maintain the UK’s fundamental position as a net exporter of music across the rest of the world.”

– The Creative Industries Federation is a membership body representing and supporting the UK’s creative industries.

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