London’s creative economy is playing an increasingly important role in supporting the economy, growing by more than 200,000 jobs in five years, new City Hall figures show.
More than 1.1 million jobs (21.6%) in the capital in 2021 were held by people in the creative economy, up from 882,000 (16.9%) in 2016, contributing to more than half of the entire economic output of the UK’s creative industries.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan hailed the findings as evidence of London’s creative importance, calling it “the beating heart of our city”.
But while the capital’s creative industries have bounced back strongly from the impact of the pandemic, related industries still face challenges, and Khan warned the government it must continue to support the sector with sufficient funding.
Last month, Khan joined cultural leaders to launch London Creates, a campaign to celebrate London as the world’s most creative capital.
The Mayor is also investing more than £600 million to create East Bank, a new cultural and educational powerhouse in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and establish 12 Creative Business Zones which will offer affordable creative workspaces to support 800 creative businesses and help 5,000 young Londoners to enter the creative industries by 2026.
Ben Evans, director of the London Design Festival and chief executive of the London Design Biennale, said: “In an increasingly competitive environment [the government] needs to invest to maintain this leadership position.
“This means investment in promotion, access to markets, integration of technologies and recruitment of talent. In terms of design, the post-Covid recovery has been slowed by the skills shortage that was exacerbated by Brexit. “This can be addressed by introducing a creative visa, allowing top international talent to live and work here, alongside a rapid expansion of training and apprenticeship programs in the UK.”
In June, the government revealed plans to grow the country’s creative industries by £50bn and support a million more jobs by 2030, with £77m of new funding announced for the sector.
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