London Mayor Sadiq Khan has criticized the UK government’s plan to divert art funds out of the capital as part of its “equalization strategy” aimed at equalizing living standards across regions. The stage The newspaper says the government’s decision to divert investment from London will result in arts funding cuts for the capital of more than £70m (Arts Council England, the independent government body, had not confirmed this figure at the time of writing).
Khan said in a statement: “The Government’s decision to significantly cut funding for London’s arts organizations will not only deal a devastating blow to our city’s creative sector, but will also hamper Britain’s recovery from this pandemic…London has some of the most disadvantaged communities in the country. Cutting back on arts funding for these communities is the opposite of leveling up.”
Outlining the strategy in several tweets, Britain’s Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries said: “Over the last few decades an overwhelming amount of money has flowed to London-based organizations while other parts of the country have not received their fair share. That is set to change with £75m in funding for the arts. Every penny of that money will go to organizations outside of London.”
Dorries says she pledged an extra £43.5million for the arts from the Treasury last year, adding that she has asked Arts Council England to “give a further £24million a year to them from their existing budget by 2025 to redistribute to neglected places’, totaling £67.5 million.
Dorries also tweeted that “The Arts Council currently spends an average of £21 per capita in London, dwarfing the £4.50 spent in the East Midlands.” She told the Yorkshire Post Newspaper: “A town like Grimsby doesn’t have one [national portfolio organisation that benefits from Arts Council funding]. In fact, there are more such organizations in London than in Yorkshire and the Humber, the North East and the North West combined. This is national funding and it should benefit the entire nation. Instead, there was a huge historical imbalance.”
Arts Council England says the extra £43.5million the Government has received for 2022-25 will benefit culture outside London and “if possible in a way that will benefit the 109 Leveling Up for Culture Places.” comes”. These include Bolsover and Boston in the Midlands, Blackpool and Rochdale in the north of England and Peterborough in the south east.
Government grantees, meanwhile, are “expected to have physical plaques in or on their buildings and to display branding on their websites.” The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) adds that the Government will shortly be announcing the recipients of £48m in funding from the latest round of its Culture Investment Fund.
UPDATE (2nd March): A spokesman for Arts Council England says that “the additional amount to be invested outside London by 2025 will be £75.5million: this includes the Arts Council’s program funding increase of DCMS by 43 £.5m, which is on top of the deferred £16m from London in 2023/24 and a further £16m from London in 2024/25”.