Oxygen Finance

Cultural Spend Uncertain After Ending of Council’s COVID-19 Support

Oxygen Finance’s data shows that local authority spend on culture & leisure-related spend increased by 12.7% during the 2021/22 Financial Year, reaching £980.63M, according to Oxygen’s Martin Holmes, with carbon emissions associated with this market also increased, rising by just under 14% to reach 273.3Kt.

Many councils across the country provided support to leisure providers in order to aid the recovery of leisure centres and gyms in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, with spend on leisure centre and sport services making up over 50% of all local authority culture & leisure-related spending in 2021/22. Other prominent areas of spend within this market include cultural services (such as museums, galleries and theatres), on which councils spent over £208M in 2021/22, and areas such as events, Christmas decorations, fireworks etc, on which a total of £126.47M was spent by councils in 21/22.

While the over £980M spent on these services as a whole in 21/22 might sound like a lot, it does in fact only represent 1.34% of total local authority spend for the financial year.

Despite the increase seen in 2021/22, the chart below shows that the emerging picture for the current financial year is one of spend in this market returning to – and maybe even falling below – the levels seen more commonly over recent years:

Why has one supplier doubled their earnings this year?

With spend on leisure centre and sport services making up over half of total expenditure, it’s no surprise to see this market being led by companies such as Sports & Leisure Management Ltd (Everyone Active) and Greenwich Leisure Ltd (GLL), with the latter having come a long way since it began expanding outside of Greenwich back in 1996. However, a notable “big mover” in this market in 2021/22 was Alliance Leisure. Re-appointed as the UK Leisure Framework Development Partner in January 2022, this company, which “develops facilities on behalf of leisure operators that want to improve or expand the leisure products and services they offer”, saw its local government earnings almost double in 2021/22 when compared to the previous financial year.

Oxygen’s Insights Spend provides unrivalled detail on procurement spend, drawing on invoice data from over 1,000 government agencies and organisations. Insights Carbon allows local authorities and other public sector bodies to understand their Scope 3 carbon emissions, allowing them to prioritise their carbon reduction activities as they address the climate emergency.


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