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Cultural Cities Enquiry

Enriching UK cities through smart investment in culture.

The purpose of this report is to consider how we can radically increase the ability of our cities to use culture to drive inclusive growth.

Cultural investment

The recently published Cultural Cities Enquiry (CCE) report concluded that great opportunities are created when investment in culture is prioritised and increased. This is achieved by linking cultural projects to civic outcomes, including urban regeneration, growth of the creative and digital industries, health and wellbeing and tourism.


Whilst the cultural sector are experts in making Green Book cases for capital cultural investment – BOP, for example recently assisted in acquiring €80M of investment in Abbey Theatre for the National Theatre of Ireland (following equivalent guidance in the Republic of Ireland) - the HM Treasury is not the only stakeholder from whom we should be seeking to unlock further investment.


“As a social investor,” observes John Montague of Big Issue Invest, “we are seeing a growing appetite for investment into cultural and creative organisations, with very positive social and financial returns.”


The Enquiry, chaired by a senior figure from the financial services industry Jayne-Anne Gadhia, proposes numerous steps to further grow this investment, including:


  • Support for cultural organisations in ‘enterprise development’; building organisational strength and financial resilience through greater collaboration and diversified income streams

  • Corporate Social Venture funds to attract new investment into culture from city partners including business, public investors (such as universities and housing associations) and charitable foundations

  • Increasing the impact of tax reliefs through supporting smaller organisations to access the existing schemes, as well as extending reliefs to literature and popular music

  • Exploring new fiscal measures such as enhanced Business Improvement Districts and/or Tourist Levies as a means to incentivise investment in culture and enable cities to capture and reinvest value from tourism.


There is no golden bullet to the cultural investment challenge, but these are all contributions to the debate, which the cultural sector can draw upon, as they chose, in making its case to investors.


BOP was a member of the CCE’s working group, as well as acting as key research partner.


This is the third of a series of blogs related to findings of the CCE report. Our other blogs looked at the themes of leadership, talent, and place.

Opportunities to grow cultural investment

Cultural Cities Enquiry identifies new ways forward on cultural funding

Mar 11, 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