Publishing new research yesterday into Arts and Sports Funding in the former coalfields, John Mann MP will hold a debate in parliament tonight (Tuesday, February 20) to draw Minister’s attention to the issue.
Noting that over the last ten years, the Arts Council have awarded just £1 in funding to former mining communities for every £8 awarded to London, Mr Mann has called for urgent action to address the inequality.
His report recommends:
• Fair funding for the Arts and Sport for all regions of the UK, ensuring that London is not unfairly advantaged in per capita terms
• Moving funding away from the Cities to towns and rural areas, making sure that no one is unfairly excluded from Arts or Sports activities because of where they live
• Funding bodies to work hand-in-hand with local stakeholders to encourage and develop competitive bids, helping community organisations, sports teams, schools and others to get access to the funding they need and deserve
• Making access truly equal for all, by considering the costs of travel and the time lost by long journey times for cultural activities. Subsidising travel to cultural and sporting events outside of the cities should be a key part of this.
• Ensuring that every community in England has high quality Sports and Arts provision, by making it government policy that no town, constituency or local authority area should lack provision. This should be at the forefront of the minds of those making funding decisions in the Arts Council and Sport England.
Calling on the government to address this severe disparity in funding, Mr Mann said: “For the last 10 years, I have repeatedly drawn Ministers’ attention to the deficit of culture spending on the coalfields. Whilst Islington residents are falling over dance studios, orchestras and operas, people in my area must travel miles to get anything like the same quality of provision.”
“A lack of access to theatres, concerts and museums puts children in the former coalfields at a severe disadvantage compared to their peers in London.
“I am calling on the government to act to make sure every child has the same access, wherever they grow up.”