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Opportunities to grow cultural investment

Cultural Cities Enquiry identifies new ways forward on cultural funding
11.03.2019

The recently published Cultural Cities Enquiry (CCE) report concluded that great opportunities are created when investment in culture is prioritised and increased. This is achieved by linking cultural projects to civic outcomes, including urban regeneration, growth of the creative and digital industries, health and wellbeing and tourism.

Whilst the cultural sector are experts in making Green Book cases for capital cultural investment – BOP, for example recently assisted in acquiring €80M of investment in Abbey Theatre for the National Theatre of Ireland (following equivalent guidance in the Republic of Ireland) - the HM Treasury is not the only stakeholder from whom we should be seeking to unlock further investment.

As a social investor,” observes John Montague of Big Issue Invest, “we are seeing a growing appetite for investment into cultural and creative organisations, with very positive social and financial returns.”

The Enquiry, chaired by a senior figure from the financial services industry Jayne-Anne Gadhia, proposes numerous steps to further grow this investment, including:

  • Support for cultural organisations in ‘enterprise development’; building organisational strength and financial resilience through greater collaboration and diversified income streams
  • Corporate Social Venture funds to attract new investment into culture from city partners including business, public investors (such as universities and housing associations) and charitable foundations
  • Increasing the impact of tax reliefs through supporting smaller organisations to access the existing schemes, as well as extending reliefs to literature and popular music
  • Exploring new fiscal measures such as enhanced Business Improvement Districts and/or Tourist Levies as a means to incentivise investment in culture and enable cities to capture and reinvest value from tourism.

There is no golden bullet to the cultural investment challenge, but these are all contributions to the debate, which the cultural sector can draw upon, as they chose, in making its case to investors.

BOP was a member of the CCE’s working group, as well as acting as key research partner.

Full report here.

This is the third of a series of blogs related to findings of the CCE report. Our first blog on the City Compacts is here, with our second on developing talent here. Our final forthcoming blog will look at the theme of place.

- Jonathan Todd, Chief Economist