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From Liverpool City Region’s £10m investment in Shakespeare North to the determination of the West Midlands to make the most of Coventry City of Culture 2021, Combined Authorities have leveraged culture and creativity.


With the formation of these authorities and election Metro Mayors, England has become slightly less centralised.

Publishing a report called Empowering English Cities, commissioned by the six English Mayoral Combined Authorities, Lord Michael Heseltine sets out his views on next steps on this journey.


There are two references to culture and creativity in his recommendations:


  • “The government should take all necessary steps to ensure its departments and all quangos cooperate with Combined Authorities in the exercise of their responsibilities.” Arts Council England are among numerous agencies that Heseltine describes as being, “of particular relevance”.

  • “The government should allow mayoral authorities to raise local taxes and charges. These could include … tourist tax and local cultural admission charges. With appropriate local exclusions, it is ludicrous for British tourists to pay to visit historic collections and buildings abroad while millions of visitors to this country enjoy free access.”


The Great Place Scheme is an Arts Council England and National Lottery Heritage Fund programme that aims to ensure that local investment in arts and culture has the greatest impact on local economies and communities. As the evaluators of Great Place, we know how relationships between economic development agencies and Arts Council England best work. We also explored the case for tourist taxes (or tourist levies) as research partners to the Cultural Cities Enquiry.


Whatever happens with Brexit, England requires further devolution, with culture and creativity vital to enabling places to fully benefit.

Empowering English Cities

Devolution energised by culture and creativity

Jul 5, 2019

Green Cities helping climate change through culture and sustainability

Nov 4, 2021

How are major cities around the world responding to climate change through cultural policies and programmes?

The Green World Cities of Tomorrow: Culture and Sustainability

Paul Owens

Culture and the Climate Emergency

Apr 22, 2021

5 Priorities for World Cities in the post-covid recovery period

Culture and the Climate Emergency

Paul Owens

Culture and the Recovery: Levelling Up Culture?

Dec 4, 2020

Culture can play an important role in recovery and renewal across the UK, if the right local decision-making is put in place

Culture and the Recovery: Levelling Up Culture?

Callum Lee

Central London’s celebrated

Sep 23, 2020

This focused, coordinated set of measures can not only rescue the sector, but position it to lead the recovery

Central London’s celebrated cultural offer is in peril

Jonathan Todd

COVID-19: Government support packages for culture and creative industries #3

Aug 21, 2020

Three big questions as applications close for Arts Council England’s Cultural Recovery Fund

COVID-19: Government support packages for culture and creative industries #3

Paul Owens

COVID-19: Government support packages for culture and creative industries #2

Jul 30, 2020

The UK’s £1.57 billion recovery package: priorities for a New Deal

COVID-19: Government support packages for culture and creative industries #2

Paul Owens

COVID-19: Cities, Culture and the 3 ‘P’s: powers, partnerships, place

Jul 20, 2020

Cities are using their unique capabilities to lead recovery and renewal

COVID-19: Cities, Culture and the 3 ‘P’s: powers, partnerships, place

Paul Owens

COVID-19: Government support packages for culture and creative industries #1

Jul 7, 2020

Investing in recovery, planning for transformation

COVID-19: Government support packages for culture and creative industries #1

Paul Owens

COVID-19 is a triple blow to culture and the creative industries

Jun 30, 2020

Recovery and renewal will depend on how we address the three dimensions of the crisis

COVID-19 is a triple blow to culture and the creative industries

Paul Owens

Take planning and collaboration to whole a new level.

Jun 3, 2020

In the face of radical uncertainty leaders and policy-makers will have to take planning and collaboration to whole a new level

‘Plans are useless, planning is essential’

Paul Owens

Relief, Recovery and Renewal

May 13, 2020

Nobody knows what will happen next, but we have a good idea of the three necessary steps out of the crisis

Relief, Recovery and Renewal: navigating our way to a new kind of future

Paul Owens

The Golden Thread in the 2020s

Dec 20, 2019

A cause for optimism

Weaving the Golden Thread into the 2020s

Paul Owens

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By BOP Consulting

Jonathan Todd

Chief Economist

Jonathan is an economist with over a decade’s experience in impact assessment and evaluation, and high-level policy experience, particularly within the cultural and creative sectors.

Jonathan Todd - Chief Economist | BOP Consulting

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Jonathan Todd

Jonathan Todd

Chief Economist