Creative Torbay

Creative Torbay / News / Tue 05 Nov 2013

‘Rebalancing our Cultural Capital’.

‘Rebalancing our Cultural Capital’.

Central Government spending per head on culture in London was nearly fifteen times greater than in the rest of England in 2012/13, and successive governments and Arts Council England (ACE) have failed to deliver on their own policy rhetoric about redressing the balance between London and the regions, according to a new report, ‘Rebalancing our Cultural Capital’.

Last year 51% of ACE’s £322m public funding budget was spent on London, and of the further £450m used by the DCMS to direct-fund 16 major cultural organisations, an estimated 90% went to London. As a result, Londoners benefited from £69 of cultural spending per head, compared with just £4.50 in the rest of England. In addition, ACE committed 45% of its £317m arts Lottery funding to London, meaning that Lottery players across the country funded the arts to the tune of £17.41 per person in London, but only £3.90 in the rest of England.

Report authors Christopher Gordon, David Powell and Peter Stark, all senior arts professionals with both UK and international experience in research and cultural policy, insist that a balance needs to be struck “between the inevitable attractions for talent in all spheres of what a great global capital city can offer, and its function as the capital for a whole nation.” Calling for “stronger and more sustainable production resources for cultural production” to be based in the regions, they propose that a process of redressing the balance should begin with a fair 'per capita' share of arts Lottery funding being spent in the regions over a five year period, and that a £600m budget should effectively be ring-fenced for “a National Investment Programme to support the arts outside London.”

The report is based on a detailed analysis of figures dating back over twenty years, and points out that 75% of public funding of the arts is in the hands of ACE and the DCMS – a proportion that is set to increase as local authority spending on culture is squeezed in response to public funding cuts. The allocation of central Government money is seen to be at the heart of the national arts funding imbalance, but the distribution of Lottery funding to the arts has done little to improve the picture. Since Lottery distribution began in 1995, ACE has favoured London significantly more than have the equivalent distributors for heritage, sport and the Big Lottery, and the average value of an arts Lottery grant in London has been double that of the average for the rest of the country.

(Source: Arts Professional)

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