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Statement on House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee report on arts, culture and funding outside London

Cllr Darren Rodwell, London Councils’ executive member for city development, said: 

“London boroughs already spend more on culture than any other region in England, and investing in our thriving arts scene provides benefits to the whole country. Every year millions of tourists visit London and then go on to visit another part of the UK – boosting local economies around the country. 

“As the CMS Committee report itself makes clear, many London-based organisations also tour extensively outside London, bringing the benefits of this investment to communities up and down the country.

“Changes to National Lottery funding for arts and culture since 2012 have already seen considerable resources redirected from London to the rest of the UK. By 2018, London will have suffered a 38% real terms cut, despite lower than average levels of cultural engagement and the city’s population growing by 100,000 per year.

“While we recognise the importance of nurturing arts and culture across the UK, we must also ensure London maintains its role as the world’s leading artistic and cultural hub and do more to reach communities with low engagement levels, wherever they may be in the country.”

Notes to editors:

1. Every year 2.5 million tourists visit London and then go on to visit another part of the UK – contributing an estimated £641 million to local economies around the country (Source: London & Partners, Understanding the London+ Visitor
2. In 2012, London received 40% of National Lottery Funding for the Arts. By 2018 this will have fallen to 25%, representing a 38% cut in London’s share in real terms.
3. London Councils’ analysis shows that London boroughs spent £25 per head of population on arts and culture in 2015/16 compared to the England average for local authorities of £20.10.
4. In the CMS Select Committee’s Report, Countries of Culture, the committee highlighted a number of London-based organisations that do extensive work across the rest of the UK. These include:
• 55% of London-based National Portfolio Organisations (NPOs) tour outside London
• 37% of the Royal Opera House theatre Audience, 44% of its schools matinee audience and 80% of its cinema audience live outside London
• Southbank Centre reaches around 1 million people a year across the country through its touring programme
• 46% of the National Theatre’s total UK audience in 2014/15 was outside London
5. In October Arts Council England (ACE) announced its funding plans for 2018-22. It confirmed that further rebalancing would be achieved over this period through additional investment of £37 million in areas outside London and that London’s share of funding for National Portfolio Organisations would be frozen.
6. Minister of State for Digital and Culture Matt Hancock MP said of that settlement: “London is the world’s leading artistic and cultural hub. I’m delighted that we’ve been able to protect funding for the arts in London while also increasing support for the regions.”