London costs squeezing out artists

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Economic success makes cities unaffordable.

London, so long a seedbed for creativity, is squeezing artists out, according to the World Cities Culture Report 2015.

The report, compiled for the Mayor of London by BOP Consulting, says that while culture has played an important part  in the city's economic growth, economic success is driving out culture and creativity  because it has become unaffordable for many local artists and cultural producers.

London is now Europe's largest city and the sixth richest in the world following a rapid growth since 1990. It has a population of 8.6 million, a third of which was born overseas. Each year 35,000 art and design students graduate from London's universities.

Yet the artists are being priced out of the city. Professor Ricky Burdett of the London School of Economics told the compilers that as the city becomes richer, social inequality has become an increasing concern, "The rising cost of living in London could make it difficult for creative people to fined the living and working space  that have given contemporary British culture its distinctive character and texture" he said.

However, leaders view a vibrant culture as essential to sustaining the city's global standing, and "risks losing out on attracting creative talent at all levels if culture is not embedded in new policies relating to transport, housing, public spaces and urban development" said Moira Sinclair, CEO of the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and formerly the Arts Council's executive director for London. "Whether by design or lack of thought culture tends to be seen as 'a nice to have' rather than as critical" she said.

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