London’s creative industries are strong – But compared to where?

GLA Economics has recently published research that confirms the importance of London to the UK’s creative industries as a whole. However, even in China and Japan, which have recently received trade delegations led by the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Mayor of London respectively, it probably isn’t news that London is the epicentre of the UK’s creative industries. London is a preeminent world city and world cities are at the vanguard of cultural and creative innovation. Nowhere else in the UK is anywhere near as plugged into global networks as London. Or as much a melting pot of international creative talent. Or in such proximity to global finance and political power. All these factors advantage London over the creative economies of other parts of the UK. GLA Economics confirm that London is capitalising on these advantages:

  • In 2012, GVA of the creative industries in London was estimated at £34.6 billion, accounting for just under half (47.6 per cent) of the UK total (£72.7 billion).
  • In 2014, 16.3 per cent of jobs in the capital were in the creative industries (795,800 jobs); this compares to 7.4 per cent of the total number of jobs in the rest of the country (or 1.96 million jobs).
  • GVA per workforce job (as a proxy of productivity of the sector) was equal to £71,100 in 2012 in London. This compares to an equivalent figure in the UK as a whole of £49,800.

In other words, there are proportionately more creative workers, being more productive and generating a larger percentage of economic output as a whole, in London than elsewhere in the UK. It is not just creative industry workers outside of London that creative industry workers in London are more productive than. It is also other kinds of workers in London. The GVA per workforce job in the creative industries in 2012 was 25 per cent higher than the average across all sectors of the London economy (at £56,700). The economic importance of the creative industries to London – to say nothing of their cultural and social functions – makes it all the more concerning that theEvening Standard reports that 30 per cent of artist studios are expected to have disappeared by 2020. And has previously noted that 40 per cent of London’s live music venues have closed over the past seven years. Continuing to provide an affordable and diverse range of art spaces and facilities amid rising land values is a challenge shared by London and other world cities, while these cities are a more appropriate benchmark for the performance of London’s creative industries than the rest of the UK. The World Cities Culture Forum, managed by BOP Consulting on behalf of the GLA, exists to uncover responses to such challenges and also to build up comparative data across these world cities. Hopefully, the upcoming World Cities Culture Summit at various locations across London from Wednesday 19 to Friday 21 November will advance these debates.