South Bank BID Launches “Engine of Recovery” Report

In 2021, South Bank BID (as delivered by SBEG) and Lambeth Council launched a major co-commissioned new report, “Engine of Recovery”, which demonstrates the economic and societal importance of five of South Bank and Waterloo’s foremost cultural institutions – the Southbank Centre, the National Theatre, the Old Vic, the Young Vic and Ballet Rambert.

The report was created by undertaking a detailed economic study of each of the cultural institutions, comparing data from pre and during the pandemic. The full report can be downloaded here and some of the core findings are as follows:

Pre-pandemic (2018/19 business year):

  • The joint core economic impact of the five major South Bank and Waterloo cultural institutions is estimated at 8,100 FTE jobs and £510m in GVA across the UK

  • The total direct income for the five institutions was £180m

  • For every direct job across the five cultural institutions, a further 2.5 jobs are created in the wider regional and national economy

  • The institutions welcomed over 4m visitors, who between them made 5.6 million separate visits

And in the 2020/21 business year:

  • Cumulative economic losses will amount to £330m of GVA and an estimated 5,500 FTE jobs in the UK as a result of the pandemic and the associated restrictions on the institutions.

  • Collectively, the five institutions will have lost at least £130m

  • 1,170 FTE staff were furloughed, equivalent to seven out of eight staff

  • The institutions projected on site visitors to be less than 50,000

  • The institutions collectively received £35.8m of emergency funding from the government’s Culture Recovery Fund. Of that, £30.6m is in the form of loans and £5.2m in grants.

Discussing the report, Nic Durston, Chief Executive of SBEG and South Bank BID commented:

“South Bank’s identity as the cultural heart of London is rooted in the 1951 Festival of Britain, and has steadily grown since then. Over the past 30 years, the area has undergone significant transformation and regeneration to become one of Central London’s most creative and vibrant neighbourhoods. What Engine of Recovery clearly demonstrates is not only the role culture plays in our society in terms of wellbeing and spiritual enrichment, but the essential economic role it plays in job creation, retention and growth. This is not only within the culture sector itself, but also in hospitality, tourism, retail and professional services.  Culture serves as a powerful magnet to bring new businesses into an area, and in encouraging inward investment. While South Bank and Waterloo are uniquely positioned in terms of its world-class cultural cluster, South Bank BID believes this report is of national consideration, and we would encourage anyone working in town and city centre management to consider this report’s findings, and to place culture at the heart of any economic regeneration strategy that is planned, especially in the wake of the pandemic.”

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