• Total jobs in the UK cultural sector in 2017: 674,000, which has grown by 23.6 per cent since 2011.
  • Estimated number of UK jobs in museums, galleries and libraries in 2017: 96,000
  • Estimated number of UK jobs in music, performing and the visual arts: 283,000. 

Source: Economic estimates of DCMS Sectors, July 2018.


Economic contribution of arts & culture

  • Cultural organisations and practitioners contributed £29.5bn to the UK economy in 2017, a 7.2 per cent increase on the previous year, and an increase of 38.5 per cent between 2010 and 2017. Note: this definition includes the much larger Film, TV and Music (which accounted for £25bn between them). Using a more restricted definition of the culture industry, museums and galleries contributed an estimated £1.1bn and visitor attractions generated an estimated £1.2bn. 

Source: Economic Estimates of DCMS Sectors, November 2018.


More performances, less revenue for UK theatres

UK Theatre has released 2017 sales figures showing a 3 per cent rise in performances, but a dip of 0.4 per cent on the gross revenues of theatres.

The data, collated by TRG Arts, reports gross take of £469.7m in 2017, compared to £471.7m in 2016, with an average ticket price of £25.08.

The total number of tickets sold was down from 19.9m to 18.7m.

Fiona Allan, President of UK Theatre & Chief Executive of Birmingham Hippodrome, said it was too soon to say whether the figures were an anomaly or whether there may be a gap between what theatres charge and some audiences are willing to pay.

Source: UK Theatre.

Published: June 2018.



London theatres enjoy robust 2016 

The Society of London Theatre’s 2015 Box Office figures show a strong year for London theatre in 2015. Please note that comparisons with 2014 are slightly difficult as 2015 figures are based on a 52 week year, whereas 2014 was a 53 week reporting year.  

Comparative highlights are: 

  • Gross revenue of £633,778,537 up 1.6% compared to 2014  
  • Average weekly attendances in 2015 increased to 283,511 (278,205 in 2014) with the highest weekly attendance of 432,310 achieved in week 52 (28 December 2015-3 January 2016).  
  • Overall attendance was similar to the year before at 14,742,588 (down 0.02% but on 52 week basis).  
  • Sales generated VAT receipts for the Treasury of £105,629,756 

Source: SOLT, February 2016. 



  • The Arts Council of England received total grant in aid of £440.1m in 2013/4, which was approximately unchanged from the previous year. Total Lottery funding was £172.1m in 2013/4, compared to £317.2m in 2012/3, the Olympic and Jubilee year.

  • From 2012 to 2015, the Arts Council of England funded 691 national portfolio organisations and 16 major museums. The Government has provided ACE with £200m between 2010 and 2015 to support regional museums. 
  • In addition to funding the ACE, the Government directly funded 16 national and non-national museums and galleries and English Heritage, which has a remit to advise on the built environment and also on historical buildings and sites. 
  • For every £1 invested in the Momentum scheme run by the Arts Council and PRS, which supports mid-career musicians, an estimated £7.46 is recouped by the music industry.

Sources: Culture and Creativity, DCMS report, March 2015; Arts Council data.


Cultural diplomacy and the great campaign

  • The GREAT campaign was launched in 2012 to harness British creativity, innovation and cultural assets to strengthen the UK's international competitive position. At the beginning of 2014, the campaign was estimated to have generated £500m in the markets where the campaign directly funds activities. In March 2015, the campaign was forecast to generate up to £800m from its 2013/4 funding.
  • The Government has created a £18m fund to promote the best of English arts and culture abroad and encourage collaboration and exchange. 

Source: Culture and Creativity, DCMS report, March 2015.


  • The aggregate turnover of business in the UK arts and culture industry was £12.4bn in 2011, according to the Centre for Economic and Business Research. (Source: Create, Arts Council of England).
  • The CEBR also estimates that the arts and culture sector contributes £7.7bn to the UK economy.
  • For every £1 of salary paid by the arts and culture industry, an additional £2.01 is generated in the wider economy through indirect and induced multiplier impacts. (Source: The Value of Arts and Culture to the People and Society, Arts Council of England).
  • .In 2011, 10m inbound visits to the UK involved engagement with the arts and culture, representing 32 per cent of all visits to the UK and 42 per cent of all in-bound tourism-related expenditure. (Source: The Value of Arts and Culture to the People and Society, Arts Council of England).
  • In its first year, the Turner Contemporary gallery in Margate, south east England, made a £13.9m impact on Kent's economy. In Wakefield in Yorkshire, the Hepworth contributed £10m to the the local economy.
  • 57% of people surveyed by the Nation Brands Index in 2009 agreed that "history and culture" was a strong influence on their choice to visit Britain.
  • The Arts Council England invested £442,730,843 of Grant-in-Aid and £172,147,060 of Lottery money in arts and culture. (Source: Arts Council England annual report 2013/4).
  • Liverpool's Capital of Culture year generated £753.8m for the local economy in 2008. (Source: Arts Council England Evidence Review). 




  • The arts and culture sector accounts for c.0.4 per cent of UK GDP.
  • Broadly, the UK arts and culture industry support c.260,300 full-time equivalent jobs, or 1.1 per cent of total UK employment. (Note, this number differs from official government data due to differences in categorisation and counting methods).
  • The arts and culture industry pays nearly five per cent more than UK median salary, thereby making a positive contribution to average household earnings.
  • The UK’s arts and culture are a very strong draw for international visitors, attracting at least £856m of tourist spending.
  • Arts and culture play an important role in supporting the UK’s wider commercial creative industries, such as film production, advertising, design and crafts, and showcasing the country’s creative talent overseas.
  • The arts and culture sector has an important benefit on health and well-being. Those who had attended a cultural place or event in the preceding 12 months were 60 per cent more likely to report good health, and theatre-goers were 25 per cent more likely to report being in health than the average.  People valued being in the audience for the arts at about £2,000 per year, which is higher than sport.

Sources: The Contribution of the Arts and Culture to the National Economy, Arts Council of England; The Value of Arts and Culture to the People and Society, Arts Council of England.