The UK’s Ministry for Culture, Media and Sport’s report on the export of objects of cultural interest has some interesting and revealing numbers. Although the value of works given export licenses has declined 15% from April 2012 to April 2013, the overall value of culture property exported has risen 11%.
In the year ending April of 2012, the Brits exported £11.9bn worth of cultural property; in the year ending in April 2013, the export figures were £13.2bn.
The vast majority of those items were imported into the UK within the last 50 years. So the nation as a whole has been profiting from its previous wealth and acquisitions. This report doesn’t include figures for importation but it is likely that the UK is a net exporter of art.