Tuesday, 05 November 2013 22:58

Arts funding 'biased towards cities'

Written by  Ruralcity Media
Arts funding 'biased towards cities'

RURAL communities are being further disadvantaged by the allocation of arts funding, say campaigners.

London receives £69 per head of populations (php) while some rural areas may only be receiving 60p php in Arts Council allocated national arts lottery funding, according to an independent report.

The study, Rebalancing our Cultural Capital, criticised Arts Council England for its failure to ensure an equitable distribution of Lottery arts funding for the English regions. including rural areas.

The report describes the way funding is allocated as a "failure of stewardship" for which there is no "defensible policy basis".

Arts Council England has "failed to deliver on their own policy rhetoric about redressing the arts funding [im]balance between London and the regions.|" it says.
It is likely that some marginal rural areas and counties may be getting much less than the average Arts Council regional spend of around £4.80 php, according to the Plunkett Foundation.

Somerset, for example, which has already had to cope with significant local authority cuts in the arts, may actually only be receiving about 60p. php.

Michael Hart, co-chairman of the Rural Cultural Forum, said the report also confirmed what the forum has been saying for some time.

Rural areas, rural communities, rural artists, arts-based rural businesses and other creative rural SMEs, continued to be unfairly disadvantaged, said Mr Hart.

An imbalance was operating with the allocation of available Arts Council Arts Lottery funding for strategic economic and environmental regeneration initiatives in England.

Mr Hart said: "We call upon the Arts Council to look carefully at the significant contribution (estimated at over £500m per annum) that the creative rural sector is already making to the the national creative economy."

This contribution should be factored into future calculations in terms of how the Arts Council proposed to prioritise arts support for rural communities and the creative rural economy in the future.

The Rural Cultural Forum said it shared growing public concern that significant amounts of arts Lottery funding investment should be made available for vital rural regeneration, rural cultural tourism and similar rural initiatives.

Instead, it continued to be diverted away from rural areas to the major regional cities, and to London.

"This is a rather unfair situation, especially for rural communities that are already struggling through lack of fair support and economic disadvantage in other areas."

The RCF wasnts the government to adopt a rural cultural strategy, which would help ensure a fairer share of future Arts Council Lottery arts funding for rural areas.

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