MPs demand more regional arts funding

MPs have claimed that London is still getting too big a slice of government arts funding.

In a report, the culture, media and sport select committee says a "better regional balance" is needed in grantmaking, despite Arts Council England reducing its support for London based arts organisations in the past three years.

Committee chair Damian Collins MP said there should be "a greater appreciation of the cultural treasures and creative innovation to be found across the UK, and especially outside of London".

He added: "Strong local leadership and innovation from regional arts and cultural organisations has produced some remarkable successes, but more needs to be done to avoid further closures of small museums and galleries, as funding from local authorities declines."

The committee’s report also said major national institutions should only get direct government subsidies if they support regional organisations, through lending exhibits, touring and mentoring.

MPs also pointed out that arts organisations in London had more opportunities to raise money through sponsorship and philanthropy. The select committee’s report followed criticism of the imbalance between arts funding in the capital and the rest of England.

In response, Arts Council England said it was increasing funding outside London. Next year 56 percent of the Arts Council's annual government funding will be spent outside London 2017/18. This will rise to 60 percent in 2018/19. National Lottery money going to the regions will also grow, with 75 percent going outside the capital by 2018.


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