Harriet Harman

Labour Member of Parliament for Camberwell & Peckham

Imbalance in arts funding - DCMS Select Committee report

This Government talks a lot about devolution and supporting the regions but when it comes to the arts they are not walking the talk.

There is a clear arts funding imbalance in favour of London at the expense of tax payers and lottery players in other parts of the country, which must be urgently rectified.  That’s the conclusion of a Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee report published today.

The report highlights the Government’s ignorance of the key role of Local Authorities in supporting arts and culture and shows that DCMS Ministers are not engaging with local councils.

There is a real imbalance in arts funding between London and the regions and this is made worse because arts philanthropy is scarce outside the capital.

Labour believes in the value of the arts and that everyone should be able to access culture regardless of their income, background or where they live.

The report also said that the Government Minister should use his position to champion the arts at every opportunity, not least by having conversations with local authorities.  “We were staggered to learn that such conversations are not commonplace, if they take place at all.”

I have established a Creative Councillors’ Network with the support of the Local Government Association to bring together, brainstorm and lend support to Labour councils and councillors to ensure that whilst facing the biggest cuts to local government in a generation they are able to continue to sustain the foundations for the arts in their area.

The report also condemns local authorities like Westminster that do little to support the arts themselves.

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