Arts investment in 2012 ‘boosted MK by millions’

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A council report has concluded investment in a programme of arts, heritage and leisure events during 2012 paid off big time in Milton Keynes.

An Economic Impact Study into last year’s events concluded that Milton Keynes Council spent £197,000 on the Summer of Culture and the International Festival but the city’s economy reaped a net £4.887million in return.

The study estimated the total audience for Summer of Culture events was 161,000 people with a further 70,000 watching the Olympic Torch Relay.

Audiences at events spent something like £4.7 million, helping to safeguard nearly 60 jobs in the arts and culture sector and creating 675 new posts and “creative opportunities”, the study says. £1.6m was spent by participating event organisers on goods and services, volunteers contributed more than 6,000 hours and money was contributed by national organisations like the Arts Council.

The assessment concluded there should be more opportunity for businesses to sponsor events in the future. But businesses told the council that they would like to be informed much earlier than they had been.

> What do you think? Is spending on the arts good for the city in times of cut-backs? Leave your comments below.