Harriet Harman MP, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, yesterday demanded that Culture Secretary Maria Miller forge a ‘survival strategy’ for arts and culture outside London as new figures show a funding crisis in Yorkshire and the Humber compared to London.
Arts Funding comes in three ways – philanthropy, the Arts Council and Local Councils.
Yorkshire and the Humber has been hit in all three.
Figures obtained through a written parliamentary question show that the lion’s share of philanthropy is concentrated in London. Only 2.4% of philanthropic giving went to Yorkshire and the Humber in 2010/2011; 71% went to London. That works out as philanthropic giving of £3.06 per head in Yorkshire and the Humber, compared to £59.52 in London.
New figures also show the Arts Council spends £5.30 per head on arts organisations in Yorkshire and the Humber, compared to £21.33 per head in London, which is home to big national institutions.
Many arts organisations outside London rely on funding from their councils – 56% of all government funding for the arts comes from local, rather than central, government. As we’ve reported before, local councils have been hit hard by the cuts and have had to take an additional 10% cut, on top of a 33% cut, due to the Government’s failed economic strategy. This is making it very difficult for local government to support the arts.
Harriet Harman MP made the challenge at the launch of Labour’s ‘One Nation Arts Tour’ in Bristol with Shadow Culture Minister Dan Jarvis MP. They will be visiting cities all over the country to hear from arts and cultural organisations about the challenges facing them and to discuss Labour’s plans for the arts.
Labour is developing a six point plan for the arts and creative industries which recognises the difficult decisions that need to be made in tough economic times.
One of the key points is a strategy for the arts outside London.
As part of this, Labour has set up a Creative Councillors Network which brings councillors together to discuss the challenges facing them, to discuss the importance of the arts in local communities and share best practice for supporting the arts in innovative ways, such as councils using public spaces for the arts and allowing their assets to be used as security for loans.
Harriet Harman MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, said:
“This government is woefully complacent about the plight of arts and culture in Yorkshire and the Humber.
“The new figures show that many organisations in Yorkshire and the Humber are facing an arts emergency when it comes to funding despite strenuous efforts from local councils.
“We need a One Nation approach to the arts – they must be for everyone in all regions. We do face difficult times, but Maria Miller should be showing leadership and forging a survival strategy to support culture all over the country not just in London.”
Time and again this Coalition government shows its so-called ‘localism’ agenda to be a hollow sham. The results of its policies for the arts in our region is just another example of that.