At Culture, Media and Sport Questions on 8th September, Sharon raised the issue of arts funding disparity for the North East compared to places like London and secured a commitment for the new Culture Minister, Matt Hancock MP, to visit Sunderland ahead of the City’s bid for City of Culture 2021.
Sharon speaking at Culture, Media and Sport Questions on 8th September 2016
Copyright Parliamentary Recording Unit
Analysis of National Lottery funding found that Arts Council England has distributed almost £3.5 billion of Lottery cash across England since 1995, of which London has received £1.34billion (approximately 39.1%) which is equivalent to £165 per head in London compared with £46.77 per head in the rest of England.
This also links with the disproportionate private sector funding into the arts in London, which received 82% of private sector funding for the arts.
Sadly, none of this was addressed in the most recent Budget where London arts and cultural organisations received more money in the Budget (around £54 million) than those outside of London, which in total received (£42.5million).
Following her Culture, Media and Sport Question, Sharon, said:
“It is clear that the North South divide has seeped down into funding for the arts and culture, despite there being many important cultural venues outside of London, especially in the North East, including here in the Sunderland, such as the National Glass Centre in Sunderland and the community-based Washington Arts Centre in my own constituency.
“More must be done to reverse these trends in order that culture in our region is not negatively impacted by lack of funding support. One way to do this is for Sunderland to successfully win the bid for City of Culture 2021 to showcase what we have to offer to the rest of the country and also the world.
“I will be taking up the new Culture Minister on his offer to come visit Sunderland ahead of our bid for City of Culture 2021 and will be writing to him to secure a date in his diary so he can see first-hand exactly what is offer on Wearside.”