Local UK arts and culture funding in crisis, says Fabian Society

Between 2009/10 and 2018/19, local government funding for arts and culture in England has fallen from £2.2bn to just under £1.4bn

The Fabian Society, a UK-based thinktank, has published a report arguing that a decade of government cuts has left community arts and culture in England vulnerable, especially outside London.

Cultured Communities argues that the centralised public funding of arts and culture is not working and calls for devolution of power and funding over the arts so that councils and mayors can repair the damage caused by the cuts and Covid-19.

According to the report, Arts Council England (ACE) fails to treat places equally when providing support to arts and culture with 41.4 percent of all 2018-22 ACE national portfolio organisations (NPO) funding assigned to London-based organisations (equal to £74.30 per person in the capital compared with £19.93 in the rest of England) and ACE 2009-2018 National Lottery funding contributing the equivalent of £50.40 per person to London-based organisations compared with £21.26 per person for the rest of England.

The report makes a series of recommendations including:

  • Central government should provide a five-year funding settlement for local government plus an additional £500m arts future resilience fund
  • Councils should purchase empty high street premises to place culture at their heart
  • Central government should require Arts Council England to distribute National Lottery funding on an equal basis across the UK

Read the full report here.

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