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Enquiry calls for partnerships to drive growth through culture

Council leaders need to join forces with other groups to help drive economic growth through the arts and culture, according to an independent enquiry.

In a new report, the Cultural Cities Enquiry, which was organised by the Core Cities group, calls for ‘cultural city compact’ partnerships to be created, which will help drive growth in Britain’s largest cities.

According to the enquiry report, these compacts could bring together civic leaders, along with people involved in business, the arts and education, to help ‘secure the social and economic benefits’ that culture can bring.

In particular, it argues these compacts could help deliver high street regeneration, establish creative clusters and support local artists.

The report also calls for the creation of city-based corporate social venture funds, which will allow businesses to invest in local projects.

It also argues that cities must make strategic and sustainable use of their cultural property assets, as part of the revitalisation of high streets and city centres, regeneration of post-industrial areas, or development of workspace for the creative industries.

It proposes that ‘city compacts’ consider a range of ‘portfolio approaches to cultural property assets’ to help retain the public, community or cultural sector ownership of such facilities.

According to the report, the  cultural sector contributed £19.5bn to the British economy in 2015 and employs more than 130,000 people in ‘largely’ well paid, highly-skilled jobs.

‘Our aim in undertaking this enquiry was to help cities across the UK to unlock the full potential of culture to promote thriving communities and drive economic growth,’ said enquiry chair, Dame Jayne-Gadhia.

‘Smart investment, innovation and collaboration are at the heart of our proposals to radically increase the ability of cities to use arts and culture to maximise the social and economic benefits of a city’s culture for everyone.’

The leader of Cardiff City Council, Cllr Huw Thomas, added: ‘Core Cities UK has always believed in the power of culture to transform lives. In my own city of Cardiff, sports, culture and the creative industries have become a major part of what makes Cardiff such a great place to live – but we need new channels of investment to sustain and grow this sector.

‘The Cultural Cities Enquiry has come up with a number of clear, practical measures to secure and enhance the position of British cities among the leading cultural centres of the world. Core City UK leaders will now work hard to make sure the recommendations are heard, understood and implemented.’

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