Report claims London bias in culture funding

 
Seats in theatre The report authors said the gap between London and the rest of England had been growing for 30 years

Related Stories

Funding for English museums, galleries and theatres is heavily skewed towards London, a report has said.

Central government spending on arts and culture in the capital amounted to £69 per resident in 2012-13, compared with £4.60 per person elsewhere in England.

The report was compiled by three arts figures who said they wanted to highlight a "bias" towards London.

Arts Council England chair Sir Peter Bazalgette admitted an imbalance existed, adding: "More should be done."

Sir Peter told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: "There is an imbalance, there's no question. I've only been at the Arts Council for a few months.

"I'm absolutely passionate about funding arts and culture in the regions… We need to do more.

"I would say judge us in two years' time. The trend is towards more spending in the regions and that's what we'll be doing."

The issue of a discrepancy between how much the capital receives in central government funding for the arts compared with the rest of England is not new.

It dates back to a white paper written in 1965 by the then Arts Minister Jennie Lee that identified the funding bias towards London as a problem.

In subsequent decades, the issue has been raised, and promised to be resolved, by a series of arts ministers, Arts Council executives and other interested parties. And yet the statistics show the situation has got more, not less, pronounced.

It is a difficult balance to strike. Nobody to whom I've spoken thinks that London shouldn't get more money per capita - it is after all the jewel in the country's cultural crown. It's just a matter of allocating the funds in a way that supports regional voices as well.

The report found that Arts Council England distributed £163m of taxpayers' money to cultural organisations in London in 2012-13 - or £20 per person in the capital.

Some 85% of the English population live outside London, where the £159m Arts Council grants equated to £3.60 per head.

Meanwhile, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport spent a further £401m on London-based national museums and galleries such as the British Museum and Victoria and Albert Museum, equating to £49 per head in the capital.

National museums based outside London - such as the Walker and Tate galleries in Liverpool and the National Media Museum in Bradford - received £46m, or £1 per person outside the capital, the report said.

Responding to the research, broadcaster Melvyn Bragg said: "This report is timely, urgent and damning of an increasingly centralised funding process.

"London is simply eating up the resources which are limited and therefore starving the rest of the country. This is wrong, short-sighted and undoubtedly unfair. I think it is time that the rest of England fought back."

The report's authors were David Powell, who specialises in cultural research; Peter Stark, who was made an OBE in 1990 for his work as director of Northern Arts and is now chair of Voluntary Arts; and Christopher Gordon, a lecturer and former chief executive of the English Regional Arts Boards.

ENGLISH ARTS & CULTURE FUNDING

  • £564m of government money went to galleries, museums and theatres in London in 2012-13
  • £205m went to arts organisations elsewhere in England
  • Arts Council England also distributed £317m of National Lottery money to the arts in England
  • £142m of that went to London, with £175m spent elsewhere in England
  • 8.2 million people live in London - 44.8 million live outside the capital

Source: Rebalancing Our Cultural Capital report

They said the gap between London and the rest of England had been growing "for at least 30 years".

London galleries, theatres and museums have also received a disproportionate amount of money from the National Lottery, they said.

Their figures do not include an estimated £440m annual spending on arts and culture by local councils across England.

Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland have their own arts funding arrangements.

Separate figures have also recently highlighted a growing gap in sponsorship and donations for the arts between London and the rest of the country.

The report comes as Arts Council England prepares to decide how to fund venues after receiving a 5% cut from the government.

A spokesman for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport said arts and culture in England were "in very good shape".

He said: "London, of course, is the nation's capital and the location for hundreds of national and local arts companies and cultural organisations.

"It is also a magnet for overseas visitors, many of whom visit the capital because of its outstanding cultural offer, boosting the national economy and helping growth. But we do need to be always vigilant to ensure that the distribution of public money is fair and transparent."

 

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

Comments

This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
 
  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 188.

    @118
    Burnley won the 2013 most Enterprising Area Award.
    That says more about them rather than some art-luvvie type living in the Capital celebrating just about everything there is to celebrate.
    A once great city wallowing in a cesspit of greed, arrogance, rubbish football teams... and things that the moderator wouldn't approve of

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 187.

    184. TJ1949 Well, we can cut the deficit by £564 million. After all, most of us see little of it.

    And if we dont implement free school meals for all / marriage allowance there is another £1bn.

    Hey, keep this up and we can be there soon! Next thing, realistic cap on housing benefit that will force rents down. Thats got to be worth a few £bn

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 186.

    Let's suppose we relocated Parliament and all government departments and agencies to Birmingham. Do you think there would be the same London bias as exists now? Of course not, and it would drive real regeneration of the Midlands and North. We might even re-route HS2 away from London altogether and link it straight to HS1 and the continent. That would save a lot of cost and disruption.

  • rate this
    -4

    Comment number 185.

    183.Gammarus
    "Not a problem at all. Won't take many people to take control of the Thames barrier. Can then charge Londoners whatever we like to keep it working, or drown."

    I doubt there'd be the brains to be able to locate it.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 184.

    Well, we can cut the deficit by £564 million. After all, most of us see little of it.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 183.

    173. Come the Glorious Day
    "Unfortuantely without the taxes that London generates you won't be employ anyone to man the borders."

    Not a problem at all. Won't take many people to take control of the Thames barrier. Can then charge Londoners whatever we like to keep it working, or drown.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 182.

    Of course, the arts budget should reach the "regions", but people don't necessarily visit places JUST to see the museums and art galleries - you need good restaurants and cafes, pleasant places to stay, easy access etc. One of the best art trips I've had was recently to the magnificent Salts Mill gallery - I'd recommend it to anyone because the town it's in, Saltaire, is also very pleasant..

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 181.

    People assume that Londoners "don't get out much" tell me the great and the good of the "rest of the country" how far do YOU go for your holidays and cultural breaks?

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 180.

    Of course there's a London bias, in arts & culture funding & many other fields. Where are the relevant government departments and agencies based? London, of course! It's time these people in their little London bubble got out and appreciated the culture & contribution to national life of great cities like Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow and Liverpool. We're not all ignorant peasants & labourers.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 179.

    Look at the facts Greater London area 9,787,426 people,Glasgow 1,168,270 Manchester 2,553,379 Birmingham 2,440,986 Liverpool 864,122 Tyneside 774,891 Belfast 579,554 Cardiff 447,287. Plus the tourist. Work it out on what the return is not what it costs.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 178.

    36. mayfield
    COMMENT NUMBER 36 IS AN EDITORS' PICK
    2 HOURS AGO
    It is not surprising really. London is our capital city.

    I suspect that really depends on your perspective, at least a third of Scotland don't think it is. Also this points out something that sums up London greed.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 177.

    Sure a £10 a year annual membership fee giving you free access to all museums (Under 16s free) would raise a substantial amount of money and pay for itself in the first year?

  • rate this
    +9

    Comment number 176.

    So a report says too much English tax payer’s money is being thrown at London?

    Why is this news?

  • rate this
    +10

    Comment number 175.

    There was just the same bias when the London Olympics sucked up Lottery funds that were supposed to be used for smaller projects aound the country.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 174.

    A ?,what is the spending around the world in other rich and developed countries as far as their capital cities are concerned?

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 173.

    170.Gammarus
    "The last census revealed that London now has more foreigners than indigenous population, so I propose it now be classed as outside of the UK and subject to strict border controls etc."

    Unfortuantely without the taxes that London generates you won't be employ anyone to man the borders.

  • rate this
    +10

    Comment number 172.

    FAR TOO MUCH ALWAYS GOES TO LONDON !!!

    The vast majority of us DO NOT LIVE IN LONDON.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 171.

    166 Nick - Feel free to make a case for a new Tate modern in Cumbria - I'd give it 1 year

    Tate Liverpool, opened 1988 and still going strong!

    The regions have culture, and can survive, its just that London steals the best. Just look at the Lindisfarne Gospels, for once it was actually allowed to be displayed in the NE. Crowds were massive. Why not leave it there all the time?

  • rate this
    +8

    Comment number 170.

    The last census revealed that London now has more foreigners than indigenous population, so I propose it now be classed as outside of the UK and subject to strict border controls etc.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 169.

    HM Government e-petition "UK independents from London"

    A great Idea!!!! especially for house prices!

 

Page 9 of 18

 

More Entertainment & Arts stories

RSS

Features

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.