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UK creative industries face £74bn in revenue losses in 2020

UK creative industries are projected to lose £1.4bn per week in revenue in 2020, according to new research from Oxford Economics.

The Creative Industries Federation (CIF), who commissioned the report titled The Projected Economic Impact of Covid-19 on the UK Creative Industries, predicts that the creative sector will be hit twice as hard as the wider economy in 2020, with a projected GVA shortfall of £29bn.

The research from Oxford Economics projects a combined revenue drop of £74bn for the UK’s creative industries in 2020, which equates £1.4bn a week.

CIF has warned of a “cultural catastrophe” as many creative sub sectors are expected to lose more than half their revenue and over half of their workforce. Around one in five, or 406,000, creative jobs are expected to be lost.

Despite the Job Retention Scheme, the report projects that 119,000 permanent creative workers will be made redundant by the end of the year. The impact on employment will be felt twice as hard by creative freelancers with 287,000 freelance roles expected to be terminated by the end of 2020.

Caroline Norbury, chief executive of the Creative Industries Federation, said: “With the economic impact of Covid-19 hitting hard, the role of our creative industries has never been more critical. As well as being a huge driver of economic growth in every part of the UK, our creative and cultural sectors bring communities together, they employ millions and are at the heart of our soft power.

“These are the industries of the future: highly innovative, resistant to automation and integral to both our cultural identity and the nation’s mental health. We’re about to need them more than ever.”

The report also found that music, performing and visual arts are projected to lose £11bn in revenue, a 54 per cent fall, as well as a loss of 178,000 jobs, marking a 57 per cent decrease, as theatres, recording studios and concert venues remain closed.

The music industry alone is projected to lose at least £3bn in GVA, a 50 per cent fall, as well as a loss of 60 per cent of its jobs (114,000), with the sector being hit hard by the collapse in live music and touring.

Meanwhile, theatre is projected to lose £3bn in revenue, down 61 per cent, and lose 26 per cent of permanent jobs (12,000), although this estimate only takes into account current cancellations and does not account for the reluctance of audiences to return to venues.

Research from UK Theatre/SOLT shows that, without further intervention, job losses in theatre across permanent and freelance roles are likely to number over 200,000 (over 70%).

Norbury continued: “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.

“We urgently need a Cultural Renewal Fund for those in the creative sector who will be hit hardest, including those industries who will be latest to return to work, those businesses unable to operate fully whilst maintaining social distancing and those creative professionals who continue to fall through the gaps of government support measures.

“We must also avoid a cliff-edge on vital measures such as the Job Retention Scheme and the Self Employed Income Support Scheme, which have been a financial lifeline for many parts of the creative industries and cannot be cut off overnight.”

After the report was released, The Society of London Theatre (SOLT), UK Theatre and nearly 100 leading creative figures signed an open letter calling for government action to prevent the sector from “crumbling”.

The letter addressed to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden warns that without government investment, theatres will be “forced to close and may never return”.

It is requesting the government to sustain the workforce through job retention and new support packages, as well as supporting theatre recovery through adaptations to the existing theatre production tax relief scheme.