New research into benefits of culture and heritage to society

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport has announced an ambitious new programme of research to improve decision making by valuing the benefits of our culture and heritage capital to society.

Access to culture and heritage has many benefits, such as improving our wellbeing, providing education, and contributing to local identity. However, currently there is no agreed approach to measuring this contribution which means that the value of culture and heritage capital is often understated.

The Valuing Culture and Heritage Capital report sets out how our approach will support the evidence base behind private and public investments in culture and heritage. This is consistent with Social Cost Benefit Analysis principles published in HM Treasury’s Green Book. While economic methodologies will take centre stage, a cross-disciplinary approach is needed. The programme will develop a robust evidence base for organisations in the culture and heritage sectors to use when making decisions regarding public and private investment.

Culture Minister Caroline Dinenage said: “There is no doubt about the vast contribution culture and heritage make in all our lives: whether enjoying public artwork at a local gallery, visiting the library or enjoying the grounds of a historic house. I am pleased that this new research will help us to better quantify the value and benefit that these important local institutions bring and will help us to protect them for future generations.”

Separate research from Arts Council England has found that people value a visit to a regional gallery at an average of over £5, while Historic England says that that households on average value the historic character of their local high street at around £7.80 per year.