New research from PwC shines a light on the tangible impact of the BBC’s ‘Across the UK’ plan – an initiative launched in March 2021 to help breathe new life into the UK’s regional economies. The study shows that the plan is on course help create 4,750 new creative businesses, and 45,000 additional jobs outside of London, by 2027-28.
Alongside a £700m pool for regional investment, the BBC has identified specific local targets, such as moving hit show MasterChef to Birmingham by 2024, alongside a new Apprenticeship Training Hub in the city. To date, creative hubs in Salford, Cardiff, Glasgow, Belfast and Birmingham have seen a considerable level of growth as a result of BBC investment, with a larger presence from the anchor company amplifying local creative economies.
Other key findings from the report include:
- BBC activities are well-spread regionally, helping to share the benefits of creative industry growth across the country, with the BBC spending in over 98% of 228 identified local communities.
- A 5% increase in the BBC’s footprint in Greater Manchester would lead to 120 new creative businesses within a year, while in Birmingham, the same increase would create 60 new creative businesses.
- In Bristol, home to the world-famous Natural History Unit, employment in the creative industries grew by 74% between 2015 and 2020.
- A KPMG report from March 2021 found that 50% of the BBC’s economic impact is outside of London, compared to 20% average for the industry
“We’ve seen the significant impact the BBC has on creative economies regionally with greater growth, new creative businesses and more highly skilled jobs,” said Tim Davie, Director-General for the BBC. “We have delivered big moves for TV, radio and news content, better representing and reflecting audiences across the UK, and we are committed to doing more. We think there is an opportunity not just for the BBC but for the wider creative industries to accelerate growth, and we’d be delighted to work with other institutions and businesses to achieve that.”
Nick Forrest, UK Economics Consulting Leader for PwC, added: “Our research shows the extent the BBC is an anchor institution, around which other creative sector businesses and workers tend to cluster. Without anchor institutions like the BBC pushing activity into the regions, the creative economy would likely remain unequally concentrated in London.”
The full report is titled: ‘The role of the BBC in creative clusters: Analysing the BBC’s wider impact on the UK economy’, and you can access it in full here.