Culture Committee challenges arts funding

The Culture Media and Sport Committee has issued a report criticising the arts funding imbalance which favours London. The report calls on Arts Council England to be more robust with local authorities, especially those like Westminster that do little to support the arts themselves.

While praising much of the work of the Arts Council and calling for no further cuts to Government arts expenditure, the report says that the Arts Council must do more to redress the balance of arts funding between London and the rest of the country.

The report proposes several mechanisms for rebalancing funding:

  • Limiting London’s access to National Lottery funding for the arts to its proper per capita share (equal to that of the rest of England) as proposed in the October 2013 report "Rebalancing our cultural capital"
  • A fairer redistribution of funding could be accelerated in the event of any future increase in Arts Council grant in aid, which should be earmarked for the English regions beyond the M25 area.
  • The Arts Council needs to redouble its already significant efforts at brokering cultural partnerships involving businesses, local authorities, local enterprise partnerships, universities and international organisations, particularly within the EU, which might provide additional funding sources

Since 2010, the Arts Council has seen its grant in aid fall by a third, a situation that has prompted cuts in staff numbers and difficult decisions about where to target support.  However, while some of the imbalance can be explained by London’s status as a capital city and world centre of culture, the Committee says the Arts Council must do more to redress the balance.