East of England economy boosted by its heritage, shows new report


New research published today by Historic England has revealed the vital contribution of heritage to the East of England economy. Heritage is an important employer and attracts millions of visitors each year.

The region’s collection of unique historic buildings provides homes for residents and premises for businesses.

The latest figures* have been collected and analysed for Historic England and are published in the Heritage Counts 2018 report. It shows that in the East of England:

  • There are 23,877 people directly employed in heritage. This compares with 16,096 in 2011.
  • Heritage tourism generated £950m in spending by domestic and international tourists who made 20.5m visits. The number of day visits to the region rose from 10m in 2012 to 18m in 2016.
  • Converted historic properties (pre-1919) provided 2,080 new homes between 2012 and 2018, up from 380,950 to 383,030.
  • Heritage contributed £3.1bn in Gross Value Added, up from £1.9bn in 2011 (the measure of the value of goods and services produced in an area, industry or sector of the economy). This is equivalent to 2% of total Gross Value Added in the region.

Heritage-led regeneration

The report also says that heritage-led regeneration can turn derelict historic areas into vibrant places in which people want to live and work.

Diss in Norfolk: Historic town brought back to life

Following a £3.4m regeneration programme, the Heritage Triangle in Diss, South Norfolk, is an example of where an historic town centre has bucked the trend of decline in similar places and has thrived, the result of a diverse and interesting cultural and retail offer underpinned by the quality of the town’s historic environment. In particular, the restoration of the Grade II listed Corn Hall to create a 21st century arts and heritage venue shows the positive benefits of reusing and adapting heritage assets to bring about local social and economic benefit.

Adala Leeson, Head of Social and Economic Research at Historic England, said:  “The East of England’s historic environment provides jobs and housing, attracts tourists and contributes to the local economy. These figures show the value that heritage brings to the region. But it’s not just about money, heritage has a number of social benefits – it can help to create a sense of identity and belonging for communities. The rise in the number of people making heritage-related day visits in the East of England is good news. We have rich heritage for people to enjoy.”

The national picture

  • The heritage sector is an important source of economic prosperity and growth in England. Between 2011 and 2016 the heritage sector contribution to Gross Value Added has increased by 37%, from £21.1bn to £29bn (equivalent to 2% of national GVA).
  • When direct GVA is compared, England’s heritage sector generated a larger GVA (12.7bn) than the arts and culture industry (10.6bn), aerospace industry (10bn), defence industry (9.4bn) and security industry (5.3bn) in the UK.
  • Heritage is an important employer in England, providing more than 459,000 jobs, an increase of 18% since 2011.
  • Heritage tourism generated £16.9bn in spending by domestic and international tourists who made 236.6m visits.
  • Converted historic properties (pre-1919) provided 51,110 new homes between 2012 and 2018, up from 5,053,970 to 5,105,080. Historic properties are now the second largest provider of new housing stock in England, after new builds. A fifth (22%) of all residential stock in England was built before 1919.

The figures are in Heritage and the Economy 2018 and Heritage Indicators 2018, which form part of Heritage Counts 2018. The series of reports is available to download from www.heritagecounts.org.uk



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