New Cultural Cities Enquiry probes support for culture
Virgin Money CEO, Jayne-Anne Gadhia, has called for evidence for a new enquiry into the resources available for culture in cities across the UK.
Conceived by leaders from culture and local government sectors, the Cultural Cities Enquiry brings together experienced innovators from education, property, finance and elsewhere, to ensure that culture continues to provide economic and social benefits for communities across the UK.
The Enquiry, which will be independently chaired by Gadhia, has been established as financial pressures on local authority budgets mean that cities have diminishing resources available to fund culture as public funds are diverted to pressing economic and social welfare priorities. At the same time, city populations are growing larger and more diverse.
With city populations growing larger and more diverse, and the drivers of economic fortunes evolving rapidly, culture will play a crucial role in helping our cities to draw strength from diversity and grasp the opportunities for success in the years ahead, says Arts Council England.
Later this year, the Enquiry will produce a report providing practical recommendations to policy-makers, funders and deliverers of culture to address these challenges. Policy questions the enquiry will examine include:
How culture’s contribution to government priorities like integrated communities, loneliness, or skills and education could unlock new funding streams
How tax incentives may be used to encourage cultural investment and philanthropy
How cities and cultural organisations can make greater use of innovative financing mechanisms, including social investment, peer-to-peer lending and other forms of repayable finance
How cultural organisations could be supported to develop sources of commercial revenue, to become more self-sustaining
Whether the planning system or incentives for developers could be used more effectively to provide spaces for culture
How we can increase non-traditional sources of giving, including at community level, through crowdfunding or local sponsorship.
By 2020, the Local Government Association says, local government will have lost 75p out of every £1 of Core Central funding it received in 2015. According to the Institute of Fiscal Studies, the UK-wide picture is similar. Local government budgets across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are 26% lower, taking into account inflation and ability to raise funds, since 2010 and central government grants will have fallen by 38%.
Private investment in arts and culture grew by 21% across the UK in 2014/15, primarily driven by high-value individual donations to the largest recipients. Just fifty organisations receive 60% of total private funding across the UK, while smaller organisations have managed to grow their private funding portfolio by 8% per annum.
The Enquiry board will be made up of expert individuals from a variety of sectors, and includes Chair of Arts Council England, Sir Nicholas Serota, economist Bridget Rosewell, Cardiff Council Leader, Cllr Huw Thomas, Deputy Chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund, Seona Reid, and Alison Nimmo, CEO of Crown Estates.