Leeds shunned for arts cash

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CONTINUED BIAS towards the capital revealed by the YEP has prompted calls for a radical re-think on the distribution of public arts funding to redress the imbalance.

Figures obtained by this newspaper reveal that, in 2014/2015, a total of £282,347,995 in public funding was awarded to arts organisations, programmes in London. In the same year, £60,759,774 was spread across Yorkshire and the Humber,

The amount of cash awarded by Arts Council England (ACE) in the capital equates to approximately £32.77 per head of the population, almost treble the £11.46 distributed per person in this region. Of the 519 applications submitted to the ACE from Yorkshire, 42 per cent were rejected in the last financial year.

Leeds-based Northern Ballet has welcomed the idea of arts provision being included in the powers devolved to regions as part of the Chancellor’s Northern Powerhouse.

“There is no question that there remains a disparity of funding for the arts between London and the rest of the country but there have been moves to redress this imbalance,” a spokeswoman for the company said.

Richard Mantle, Opera North’s general director, said: “There will always be a funding imbalance between London and the regions on the basis of geography and concentration, and therefore too simplistic to suggest that funds should merely be redirected away from London, though there is no doubt that increasing investment is much needed to ensure that high quality arts flourish throughout the country.

A spokeswoman for the DCMS said: “The Government strongly supports the fair distribution of arts and culture funding across the country. We will continue to discuss this with the Arts Council.”

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