Creative Industries Minister Ed Vaizey today urged West Midlands business leaders to invest in the creative industries as part of ambitious plans to boost the economy of Greater Birmingham and Solihull.
The Creative City initiative, led by the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership, aims to stimulate investment by:
- Creating a fund to build on existing public sector funding of the arts through loans, grants, match-funding and investments. The allocation of funds will be based on the potential for job creation and economic growth.
- Outlining the vision for a new ‘museum quarter’, including a new museum of photography and the development of a new contemporary art gallery.
- Exploring ways to unlock private sector and philanthropic support for culture, linking cultural development to wider economic growth.
Creative industries: a driver for growth
At the launch, Vaizey welcomed the initiative, forecasting that it “will bring the support and enthusiasm of the private sector and the cultural public sector into a closer partnership”. He added “What is new here is the commitment of the LEP to integrate culture and the creative industries into its economic strategy, in partnership with the City Council and Birmingham’s cultural organisations.”
Andy Street, Chair of the Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP, laid out the vision: “We want to create an environment which attracts businesses to invest here and existing ones to grow. Having a world-class cultural and creative offer is key to achieving this. Creative City is about building on all the assets that currently exist and multiplying the effect of our investments by working together.”
Birmingham already has an impressive cultural and creative sector, including the UK’s busiest theatre and a world-class orchestra, and ballet and opera companies. One million visitors pass through the doors of its museums, placing them in the top 40 in the world. In 2008-9, Birmingham’s arts sector contributed £271m to the local economy.