Creative Industries Worth £33m to Outer Hebrides Economy (10/07/2012)
The arts and creative industries in the Outer Hebrides support around 500 jobs and add more than £33 million to the local economy, according to new research published today.
The economic impact study was commissioned by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), Creative Scotland, Skills Development Scotland and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar. It forms part of a wider study which aims to capture Scotland-wide understanding of the economic impact of the arts and creative industries.
The research identified direct employment in the arts and creative industries in the Outer Hebrides to be around 390. Of these, the vast majority are employed in TV and Radio, Fashion and Textiles (including Harris Tweed), the heritage sector, publishing and architecture.
The study further identifies high numbers of micro-businesses and sole traders working in the arts and creative industries, suggesting the total number of people employed in the sector may exceed 500. When indirect contributions (through the supply chain) and induced effects (spending by those working in the arts and creative industries) are considered, the total impact of the sector is over £33m gross value added (GVA) and £67m in turnover.
The study confirms the importance of local identity and Gaelic culture to creative activity in the Outer Hebrides and highlights the contribution of the arts and creative industries to inward migration and tourism. The report found that the arts and creative industries play a significant role in attracting visitors, whose £6 million expenditure contributes around £2.5m GVA, mainly in accommodation and catering.
Many of those working in the arts and creative industries report the value of community and related cultural associations, and of professional networks. The Outer Hebrides’ cultural resources include a range of museums, historical societies, archives and archaeology, as well as opportunities for training and development in creative and cultural subjects. A number of events and facilities contribute to the distinctiveness of the islands, including the Hebridean Celtic Festival, the An Lanntair and Taigh Chearsabagh arts centres, and Stornoway's new Creative Industries and Media Centre.
More than half (53%) of the 100 businesses surveyed for the report said that their main geographic market was within the Outer Hebrides. Almost three quarters (74%) indicated that they have experienced fluctuations in overall income/turnover in recent years. While much of this related to the effect of wider economic circumstances and availability of funding, there had also been positive developments, driven by increased interest in Harris Tweed.
Mairi Buchanan, Senior Development Manager at HIE, said: “The economic impact study has confirmed the extent of the sector’s diversity and its impact in the Outer Hebrides.
"The analysis shows the contribution made at every level and scale of enterprise, from the large scale activities associated with Harris Tweed, heritage and broadcasting to those who are self-employed and micro-businesses. Each has a substantial cultural and community importance, and together they make a vital and powerful contribution to the islands' economy.
"In this Year of Creative Scotland, it's good to be able to recognise this aspect of the Outer Hebrides' contribution to Scotland's culture and economy.”
Joe Macphee, Head of Economic Development at Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, commented: “The Comhairle is committed to supporting the creative and cultural industries and values their contribution to the economy and the social fabric of the Outer Hebrides. We welcome the findings of this useful and comprehensive study which highlights the diversity of the sector and its impact across the Outer Hebrides”.
Andrew Dixon, Chief Executive, Creative Scotland welcomed the report and said:
‘This report confirms the strength of talent in the Outer Hebrides, already recognised for world-famous brands such as Harris Tweed, or the hugely successful Hebridean Celtic Festival and now, for the first time, its impact on the islands’ economic well-being can be set alongside the joy that a vibrant cultural life brings to those communities. It is further proof that all of Scotland thrives on creativity.’
The study is available to download at: http://www.creativescotland.com/resources/research