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London Chamber launches campaign to prevent arts funding cuts in the capital

Monday 31 July 2023

The London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has today launched a campaign to stop further arts funding cuts in London.

There is a clear need for London to have a thriving, diverse and creative arts scene which is so critical for the capital’s economy and for bringing communities together. According to the Greater London Authority (GLA), the creative economy is estimated to provide one in six jobs in London and the creative industries generate around £47 billion for the London economy. Moreover, it is estimated that by 2030 there will be ten million people living in London which will only increase demand for the arts.

The unexpected announcement by the Arts Council in November 2022 of £50 million worth of cuts to the sector was the latest in a series of funding withdrawals that have already deeply affected the arts scene across Greater London. In the past decade, London has lost 35% of its grassroots music venues and 58% of LGBT+ venues. The funding cuts announced by the Arts Council are in keeping with this ongoing trend of loss which has been further exacerbated by the closures of the Hampstead Theatre and the Gate Theatre in Notting Hill in the past seven months.

Funding cuts affect London both directly and indirectly; international talent leaves London, and domestic talent does not have opportunities to develop, meaning a reduction in homegrown shows and exhibitions and a lower likelihood of international creatives coming to London to tour and work. As our capital and a global city, London serves as the cultural gateway to the rest of the UK for international visitors; therefore any cuts to arts funding are damaging not just for London but for the whole of the UK. By harming our cultural offer, we also harm the levelling up agenda for further investment in the nations and regions that make up the United Kingdom.

LCCI has recently written to the Arts Council London Director, Tonya Nelson, Arts Minister, Lord of Whitley Bay, and Shadow Arts Minister, Jeff Smith MP, to highlight the damaging effects of cuts on London’s creative industry and the wider business community. In the letters, LCCI has demanded that the Arts Council stops cuts to arts funding across the capital through the implementation of strong funding plans by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, and a concerted effort to reestablish lost investment in the years that follow.

Richard Burge, Chief Executive Officer at London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) said:

“As the preeminent global city, London plays a leading role in the global arts and culture scene. This is a position which was born from the hard work and creativity of artists in London, supported by the provision of space and funding from the Arts Council and the Government. London’s creative economy has a direct impact on the UK’s success and plays a vital role in encouraging international artists and tourists alike into London and regions across the country.

“To sustain this success and encourage new creatives to come to London, it is essential that these proposed cuts are reversed and a long-term, generous funding plan is implemented to support the sector. Economic pressures are mitigated through growth and innovation, which are defining characteristics of the creative industries. To fail to support this sector, which punches above its weight in its contribution to London and the UK’s success, would be an act of economic and social self-harm. We urge the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to work with the Arts Council to prevent funding cuts and work hand-in-hand with the sector to secure its future.”

END

About the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry

London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) is London’s key hub for the business community, we support members’ businesses through a range of services, advocate on behalf of London’s business community in the most important forums of policy debate, and promote ‘Global London’ as the best city in the world to do business – whether that’s to trade, invest, learn, or find new commercial partners.