Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Capital's Gains Leave Rest with Thin Pickings; Donations to London Still on the Rise

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Capital's Gains Leave Rest with Thin Pickings; Donations to London Still on the Rise

Article excerpt

Byline: Adrian Pearson Regional Affairs Correspondent? 0191 201 6286 ? adrian.pearson@ncjmedia.co.uk

THE North East's under-pressure arts sector is continuing to suffer as London soaks up UK donations to cultural venues.

Venues across the capital are taking an increasing share of philanthropic donations, with London now accounting for around 90% of individual giving.

And while London saw annual donations of more than PS335m the North East saw the lowest regional funding level, with its PS3.2m accounting for just 0.9% of all English giving.

That widening gap, with London's share up 1%, could not have come at a worse time, prompting charities to warn of a sector in crisis.

The worrying sign of London's growing dominance comes as the Government and local councils continue to cut funding for arts groups.

Earlier this month The Journal revealed arts venues across Tyne and Wear, including the Discovery Museum and the Laing Gallery, are already considering a range of money-saving measures, including reduced opening hours, closing extra days and charging for entry to some exhibitions.

The 2012 funding figures were compiled by not-for-profit group Arts & Business, whose director Philip Spedding last night warned of a "perfect storm" facing regional organisations.

He said: "Two main concerns arise from the figures. First, the increasing dominance of cultural organisations based in London in terms of who is raising the most money. Second, the increasing reliance by the cultural sector on Trust and Foundation support." He added: "For arts organisations outside London, this is going in the wrong direction."

Looking at the state of council finances, he added: "There is a danger of an almost perfect storm of public sector cuts, private sector money not being there to make a financial difference, and of course challenges in generating income from the public. …

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