Economic Impact Assessment

The Walk – my Coventry is your Coventry (Photograph: Dylan Parrin)


In April 2020, the Coventry City of Culture Trust appointed AMION Consulting to undertake an Economic Impact Assessment (EIA) for UK City of Culture 2021 (UK CoC 2021).

In seeking to achieve a more complete and better-grounded understanding of the benefits generated by UK CoC 2021, it was recognised that an innovative approach to EIA was required. The intention was to avoid a ‘narrow’ version of EIA whereby only that which can be reliably monetised was included within the assessment (or recognised in any meaningful sense).


A report published in July 2021 detailed the economic activity and impact to the city region. It was prepared to establish the baseline economic figures from which the economic impact of UK CoC 2021 would be measured. The baseline report provided an indication of the investment secured by June 2021, as a result of being awarded the UK CoC 2021 title in December 2017.

This equated to over £172 million, with an estimated further £51 million of Gross Value Added (GVA) generated from capital works completed or underway through this investment. The report noted that this investment sat alongside an additional £500 million of city regeneration activity that had taken place since the award of UK CoC 2021.

UK CoC 2021 Economic Impact Assessment Report

Final Report

As the Coventry City of Culture Trust went into administration in February 2023, Coventry University, on behalf of the monitoring and evaluation team, commissioned AMION Consulting to produce a more limited EIA with two main purposes:

  • quantification of the attendances, local spending, employment, Gross Value Added (GVA), volunteering, funding, image and other impacts of UK CoC 2021 at a local level
  • a value for money (VfM) assessment of UK CoC 2021 at the national level, as well as a place-based analysis in compliance with HM Treasury and relevant Departmental guidance.
Image of people analysing a document


The report was compiled using a variety of sources including primary data on income and expenditure, events, volunteering and attendances, as well as secondary data on socio-economic conditions in the area.

Qualitative information was derived through audience, resident, and volunteer surveys, along with interviews and discussions with partners and other key stakeholder organisations.


Prior to the commencement of the programme, it is estimated that £183.1 million (current prices) of related investment was secured, in part, due to the award of the UK CoC 2021 title.

Further economic impacts of the programme (at 2023/4 prices) include:

  • £20.9 million net additional off-site and organisational expenditure in Coventry and Warwickshire
  • 225 one-year net additional full time equivalent (FTE) jobs from off-site visitor and organisational expenditure in Coventry and Warwickshire
  • £11.6 million net additional GVA arising from this expenditure in Coventry and Warwickshire.

The award of UK CoC 2021 also provided a boost to a range of other wider regeneration projects within the city. In total schemes with an investment value of more than £1 billion are either now complete, underway or proposed.

Investments and Economic Impacts

Investment and economic impacts can be seen through a number of outcomes:

  • The number of Coventry organisations in the Arts Council England National Portfolio increased from five in the 2018–2022/3 portfolio to nine in the 2023–2026 portfolio. This represents a 79% increase in funding.
  • The DCMS awarded Coventry City Council £8.5 million for capital projects, which supported heritage assets.
  • Public realm improvements in the city centre led to 63% of citizens agreeing that the changes to Coventry city centre have made it more fun and enjoyable to visit.
  • Cultural and heritage assets such as Charterhouse, the Daimler Powerhouse, the Belgrade Theatre, and Warwick Arts Centre have been strengthened following refurbishment or renovation.
  • Recent tourism and visitor data suggest that Coventry is recovering well following the Covid-19 pandemic. Analysis of STEAM data demonstrates that 2022 was a record year for the city, with visitor figures surpassing the pre-Covid 2019 baseline.
  • The economic impact of tourism in Coventry was £594.36 million in 2019 and declined heavily, as elsewhere, due to Covid-19. In 2022, Coventry experienced a strong recovery with the economic impact of tourism reaching £750.86 million (£156.5 million higher than 2019).

Value for Money

Despite the substantial and significant impacts of Covid-19, UK CoC 2021 attained a monetised Benefit-Cost Ratio (BCR) of 1.0:1 at the national level and 1.1:1 at the local level. There were also significant non-monetised benefits which mean that the programme was classified to represent acceptable value for money.


The team at AMION Consulting was led by Graham Russell.  Professor Nick Henry, Coventry University, was the EIA lead for the monitoring and evaluation team, with support from Mark Scott, Warwick Business School.


The Economic Impact Assessment was includes as an annex within the final evaluation report.

Graham Russell was part of the panel speaking at the Cultural Policy and Evaluation Summit, on 25 June 2021, in the early stages of the UK CoC 2021 year.

On 11 March 2022, AMION Consulting presented Implementing the Culture and Heritage Capital Approach as part of the DCMS Valuing Culture and Heritage Capital conference.


This website reflects a variety of UK CoC 2021 activities, funded by different funding bodies. It has been created as part of the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funded project City Change Through Culture: Securing the Place Legacy of Coventry City of Culture 2021 (Grant Reference AH/W008769/1).

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