UK creative industries face $92.7 billion loss in 2020 due to COVID-19

UK creative industries face $92.7 billion loss in 2020 due to COVID-19

The creative industries in the United Kingdom are facing a year-over-year decline in revenue of £74 billion ($92.7 billion) as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, a report from Oxford Economics finds. 

Commissioned by the London-based Creative Industries Federation (CIF), in partnership with national and regional trade associations, the report, The projected economic impact of COVID-19 on the UK creative industries (54 pages, PDF), suggests that the country's creative sector will be hit twice as hard by the impacts of the coronavirus as the economy overall, with projected revenue declines of £1.4 billion ($1.75 billion) a week, a 30 percent decline from 2019 levels. Based on a survey of more than two thousand creative organizations and freelancers fielded by CIF in March and April, the study estimates that the sector, which had been growing at five times the rate of the overall UK economy before the global public health emergency, will see gross value added (GVA) fall by £29 billion ($36.3 billion), or 25 percent, and that one in five of those employed in a creative industry, including 119,000 full-time employees and 287,000 freelance and self-employed workers, are likely to lose their jobs.

According to the study, the music, performing arts, and visual arts industries will see revenues decline some 54 percent and employment fall 57 percent in 2020, while the film, television, video, radio, and photography industries could see revenue losses of 57 percent and employment declines of 42 percent. The study projects similar declines in revenue and employment for crafts (53 percent and 47 percent), design and designer fashion (58 percent and 30 percent), advertising and market research (44 percent and 26 percent), publishing (40 percent and 26 percent), and architecture (24 percent and 2 percent). Museums and galleries, which will begin to reopen in July under social distancing constraints, are expected to see relatively limited losses of 9 percent (revenue) and 5 percent (jobs).

The release of the report follows CIF's open letter — signed by more than five hundred leaders of the creative industries — calling on the UK government to provide targeted emergency relief funding for the sector. 

"With the economic impact of COVID-19 hitting hard, the role of our creative industries has never been more critical," said CIF chief executive Caroline Norbury. "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....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."

(Photo credit: Creative Industries Federation)