Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Arts Chiefs Pledge to Close the Funding Gap - but It Will Take Time

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Arts Chiefs Pledge to Close the Funding Gap - but It Will Take Time

Article excerpt

Byline: Jonathan Walker Political Editor

ARTS and cultural bodies across the North East could receive a fairer share of funding in future years, the people responsible for distributing cash have pledged.

Leaders of Arts Council England, which shares out lottery cash for the arts as well as funding directly from the Treasury, said they accepted there was an "imbalance" with London getting the lion's share while the rest of the country loses out.

But they insisted the situation was improving, with more money going to regions outside London in recent years - and pledged that the trend would continue.

However, giving evidence to a Commons inquiry, the Arts Council also insisted that London organisations had to receive enough money to allow the city to maintain its position as the world's cultural capital. And MPs were also told by Culture Minister Ed Vaizey that the arts are "generously funded outside London".

The Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee is holding an inquiry into the work of the Arts Council.

That was in part prompted by a hard-hitting report called Rebalancing Our Cultural Capital which warned that London receives PS563.9m a year in culture funding from the Government and the Arts Council - or PS68.98 per person - while the rest of the country gets PS205.1m or just PS4.57 per person.

The study also found that the North East had received PS86.22 per head in arts lottery funding since 1995, while Londoners received PS165.

The inquiry previously heard evidence from leaders of the North East Culture Partnership, who warned that cash-strapped arts organisations in the North East are spending time filling in grant applications instead of actually taking part in arts and cultural activities.

Speaking to the committee, Arts Council chair Sir Peter Bazalgette said: "You are quite right point to an imbalance. …

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