Leeds 2023 chief executive Kully Thiarai gives verdict on Spring Budget culture pledge

Ahead of the Spring Budget, Leeds 2023 chief executive and creative director Kully Thiarai shares her thoughts on the £408m expected to be awarded to the culture sector.

By Georgina Morris
Wednesday, 3rd March 2021, 6:00 am

The additional funding announced by the Chancellor today to support the arts and culture sector is a welcome boost, she writes.

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Beyond doubt our sector was one of the hardest hit and it’s clear that the Government has recognised the ongoing challenges facing our sector and the importance of supporting cultural organisations now, so they can thrive once again as the pandemic subsides.

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Leeds 2023 chief executive and creative director Kully Thiarai. Picture: Keith Kaselampeo

Here in Leeds we have a diverse and rich cultural ecosystem and we hope that the funding will be distributed equitably to those who need it most, and to those who’ve missed out in the previous rounds of the Cultural Recovery Fund.

We cannot forget that the success and impact of our creative industries depends on a vast army of freelance artists, performers, technicians, and crew that have currently fallen through

the gaps in support and would encourage the Government to ensure this funding will reach the self-employed too.

Investment in culture will support our economic recovery from Covid-19. Pre-Covid, Leeds was the fourth fastest growing city in the creative industries with an increase of some 5,000 jobs and 500 new businesses in the first half of the decade.

Supporting the sector now with additional funding will go some way to ensuring we can continue to accelerate this growth into the future.

There is a pent-up demand for creative experiences and opportunities for us to re-connect with one another. Leeds 2023 is already working with our cultural partners and communities to harness the power of culture in supporting the post-Covid recovery.

Working now towards our landmark year of culture means we will create extraordinary experiences that provide joy for everyone to connect with one another once again.

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