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Farron: Arts Funding Is Too London-Centric

March 17, 2016 10:50 AM

farron-oration blogWestmorland and Lonsdale MP Tim Farron has accused the government of neglecting the arts outside London, as the latest figures show that residents in the North West only receive around 1/3 of the funding per head that Londoners enjoy.

The latest figures show that Arts Council England (ACE) spending continues to be focused on the capital. Londoners receive £26.02 of ACE funding per capita, compared to just £9.24 per capita in the North West. Other regions receive even less.

Culture Secretary Ed Vaizey MP insisted that "there continues to be a shift in spending on National Portfolio funding away from London", highlighting that "in May, ACE announced they will increase the percentage of Lottery funding distributed outside London from 70% to 75% by the end of 2018." However, Tim has said that the figures still show an excessive focus on London.

Tim said: "Arts and culture don't stop at the M25, yet London benefits disproportionately from Arts Council England spending. Every single region outside London receives half or less than half of the funding per person than the capital gets. This needs to change.

"This situation not only overlooks the fantastic arts and culture offerings in the rest of the country, it deprives the people in those areas of the benefits which that investment brings. Funding the arts not only enriches the cultural scene for local people, it helps to bring in tourists and provide jobs.

"It must be recognised that arts and culture are not only to be found in London or other big cities, and Arts Council England spending needs to reflect this."