ARTS and cultural groups in Dorset are not being written out of Dorset Council’s economic growth strategy.

Cabinet brief holder Gary Suttle says that while the arts is not mentioned in the draft economic strategy it will be included in the final version.

The lack of any mention of arts or culture in the council document was raised by Sarah James, Chief Executive of the Arts Development Company in a public question at this week’s Cabinet meeting.

“Arts and Culture in Dorset is an essential component in supporting both economic growth and the development of higher paid, year round, skilled jobs and in attracting tourists to our county as well as an essential ingredient in what makes our towns and our county an attractive place to live, work, leisure and invest in,” said Ms James.

She said that Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership had listed the sector as one of its four priority areas and wanted to know why culture is not mentioned in the council’s draft Economic Growth Strategy as a key industry and one which needs supporting through recovery plans.

Similar questions had previously been raised by Dorchester councillor Stella Jones.

In a pre-prepared response to the question Cllr Suttle said that he acknowledged that arts and culture do have a role to play in the future prosperity of the county and would feature in the final strategy.

Said Cllr Suttle: “The significance of arts and culture has been discussed during the development of the strategy, and they have a particular role to play in addressing crucial issues such as seasonality in the visitor economy, bringing vibrancy to our towns and making Dorset an attractive inward investment proposition. Arts and culture have been severely impacted by COVID-19 and we must seek to recover and increase resilience to future economic shocks. These issues will be detailed further in the action plan to accompany the strategy, and we look forward to collaborating with the Arts Development Company and other appropriate partners.”