YEP Says: More arts money for Leeds is such welcome news

The Northern School of Contemporary Dance in Leeds.
The Northern School of Contemporary Dance in Leeds.
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NEWS that more arts funding is coming to the North in general and Leeds in particular is tremendous, especially given our capital of culture ambitions.

It has long been likened to a David and Goliath battle, but the Arts Council England has finally made good on its promise to narrow the north south funding divide.

Yesterday, the organisation announced its next four year funding plan with Yorkshire’s museums, theatres and art galleries set to receive £157m – an increase of more than £5.3m in the first 12 months alone.

The extra investment in the regions, which totals £170m, is the result of some of the capital’s major arts venues, including The Royal Opera House, Southbank Centre and National Theatre, seeing their budgets cut by an average of three per cent.

The announcement won’t appease all the critics – spending on culture per head of population in London is £18.74 compared to £7.13 in Yorkshire. However, it is a step in the right direction given that three years ago, the capital received £41.03 per head and the county just £4.50.

The Tetley gallery will gain and a number of theatre companies known for staging groundbreaking performances have also been rewarded, such as Leeds-based Slung Low. Let’s hope this isn’t just a one-off and that our arts can continue to flourish.