City taskforce sets out London’s recovery from Covid-19 ‘cultural catastrophe’

London's Culture and Commerce Taskforce advises on helping capital's economy recover from Covid-19 and Brexit

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Close collaboration across cultural, civic and commercial sectors will be essential in tackling the “cultural catastrophe” caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, a report by the Culture and Commerce Taskforce has revealed.

The taskforce was formed last October and works in partnership with the city’s creative district, Culture Mile.

It brought together leading figures from across the capital’s commercial, civic, technological and creative organisations.

They looked for new ways in which London’s culture and business sectors could work together to maintain the city’s competitive advantage as a global creative and commercial centre.

In its report released today, Culture and Commerce: Fuelling Creative Renewal, the taskforce made three key recommendations to help secure the capital's creative future, provide a blueprint for stronger collaboration between the culture and business sectors, and boost London's economic growth as the UK recovers.

The first is to bring London alive through creativity. This includes the commercial and arts sectors working together tobring people back to London as soon as social-distancing restrictions allow.

The taskforce will also look to give new purpose to public and commercial spaces and encourage businesses and public bodies to employ artists and creatives to help develop urban renewal.

It is hoped this will help to fill streets, shop windows and lobbies in the capital with creative activity to attract workers, visitors and residents when Covid-19 restrictions allow.

The second recommendation in the report is to share knowledge and build skills between culture and commerce.

It calls for London’s creative sectors and business to boost professional skills, attract and nurture global talent, and build international connections.

The taskforce says that this will provide the skills needed to tackle the challenges of a post-pandemic, post-Brexit world.

It also plans to hold a London creative skills event for school-leavers after the pandemic.

This will offer a skills-sharing programme based on professional development opportunities across the creative and commercial sectors.

The introduction of an international exchange programme will connect creative and commercial sectors around the world to explore global issues.

The final recommendation is to develop creative centres that will provide spaces for cross-sector innovation.

These centres will provide ideas for innovation and give isolated workers human connections and inspiration.

The taskforce recommends establishing a brokerage model so owners, occupiers and employers can make unused office and retail space available for creative businesses.

It also seeks a dedicated forum to give freelancers a voice in planning the future of the creative sector.

“The Covid-19 pandemic continues to have a devastating impact upon the capital’s cultural and creative sectors,” said William Russell, Lord Mayor of the City of London and chairman of the Culture and Commerce Taskforce.

“This blueprint for a deeper relationship between the creative and commercial sectors will help boost London’s economic growth and places the capital’s powerhouse creative sector as a leading force in the economic recovery from coronavirus.

“It is critical for culture and commerce to work together and harness London’s creative energy to retain its position as the best city in the world in which to live, work, learn and invest.

“I call upon culture, civic, and commercial organisations across London to consider our proposals, with a view to implementing as many recommendations as they are able to, in order to help accelerate the recovery."