BBC Boosts Regional Industries Outside of London


The BBC has released new research showing its impact on regional creative economies in growing employment, businesses and opportunities outside of London.

The research, conducted by PwC, shows that a 15 percent increase in the BBC’s local footprint doubles the rate of growth of the surrounding creative industries over time. 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 BBC presence amplifying the local creative economy.

For example, in Bristol, home to the Natural History Unit, employment in the creative industries grew by 74 percent between 2015 and 2020.

PwC finds the BBC’s Across the U.K. plan, which sees £700 million ($842 million) additional spend outside of London by 2027-28, is expected to result in 4,750 new creative businesses and 45,000 additional jobs outside London.

The result of BBC investment is skilled, better-paid jobs and more opportunities in the local area, with workers earning between 7.3 percent and 9.4 percent more than their counterparts (around £2,600 per year).

The report also finds that BBC activities are well-spread regionally, helping to share the benefits of creative industries growth across the U.K., with BBC spending in over 98 percent of the 228 local communities.

Additionally, a 5 percent increase in the BBC’s footprint in greater Manchester would lead to 120 new creative businesses within a year. In Birmingham, the same increase would create 60 new creative businesses.

Further, a 1 percent increase in the size of a creative hub increases the share of local workers employed in the creative sector by 1.7 percentage points. In Bristol, this is around 457 jobs, and around 418 jobs in Cardiff.

Tim Davie, director-general of the BBC, said: “We’ve seen the significant impact the BBC has on creative economies regionally with greater growth, new creative businesses and more highly skilled jobs. We have delivered big moves for TV, radio and news content, better representing and reflecting audiences across the U.K., 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, U.K. economics consulting leader at PwC, said: “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.”