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UK creative industries projected to lose £1.4 billion a week in revenue in 2020

A new report has examined the extent of the pandemic's impact

Audiences at a concert

A new report has shown the massive impact the pandemic has had on the arts.

Released by the Creative Industries Federation and completed by Oxford Economics, the research states that the creative sector will be hit twice as hard as the wider economy in 2020. There will be a combined revenue drop of £74 billion for the UK's creative industries in 2020, with 400,000 jobs in peril.

One in five jobs in the sector are expected to be lost – over nine times more than the entire workforce of British Airways. This will be, according to Oxford Economics, even more widely felt in the regions than in the capital.

The report projects that 119,000 permanent creative workers will be made redundant by the end of the year, with over a quarter of a million freelance roles expected to be terminated.

What is striking about the Oxford Economics report is just how vital the arts are to the economy – the creative sector was previously growing at five times the rate of the wider economy, employing over 2 million people and contributing £111.7 billion. That's more than the automotive, aerospace, life sciences and oil and gas industries combined.

In terms of statistics, the creative industries' value is expected to fall by £29 billion (around 25 per cent), double what the expected GDP growth will be (-12.8 per cent).

The report has acknowledged its own shortcomings – the estimates do not factor in further theatre closures in 2021, nor do they examine the impact of an audience's reluctance to return after venues reopen. That means the effects may be even worse than originally stated.

The West Midlands is projected to be hit hardest in terms of job losses, with 43 per cent of creative jobs forecast to be lost. With Coventry on track to be the City of Culture next year, this will be a sad state of affairs.

Caroline Norbury, CEO of the Creative Industries Federation, said: "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."

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