Theatres, libraries and museums are adding £10.8bn to the UK economy, overtaking farming as an “essential” economic contributor.

Arts and culture are about as beneficial to the economy as cities the size of Liverpool or Sheffield, new research has found, with book publishing and performing arts among the most productive parts of the industry.

But leading arts figures warned against continued cuts to public funding relied on by much of the industry, which employs 360,000 people across the UK.

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