There has been a recent debate over Art Council England’s (ACE) potentially uneven distribution of funding to areas throughout the country. The debate specifically addresses the imbalance in the distribution of lottery funds. The Place Report (theplacereport.co.uk/) addresses this imbalance in less than uncertain terms, stating the following:
‘The Arts Lottery has disproportionately benefited the most prosperous and 'arts engaged' communities in England, which are often also those contributing least to the Lottery.’
This isn’t the first time ACE has come under scrutiny. The Culture, Media and Sport Committee also criticised their distribution of tax-derived funding last year, claiming that ACE spent more than five times as much funding per person in London compared to its spend on organisations elsewhere in England.
With a population of over 8.3 million, London is, inarguably, the cultural and financial hub of England. It is an incredibly important part of ACE’s responsibilities and this can’t be ignored. Boris Johnson has given his perspective on the arts funding discrepancy, stating that it is important to the rest of the UK that there is “continued investment in the capital’s cultural offer.”
The question is this: can London’s ‘cultural offer’ still be supported adequately if we siphon some tax-funded and Lottery-funded support to other less advantaged parts of the UK? This will hopefully be answered by The Place Report in due course.
It’s not just theatre, illustrative art and music that are affected; dance and literature also fall under ACE’s jurisdiction. The interactive infographic below has been developed by Dancemania; it gives a regional breakdown of arts funding in England, splitting up the regions accordingly. Click through it to find out the specifics about the arts funding in your region.