Arts Council England Funding: Coalfield Communities

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 10:06 pm on 20th February 2018.

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Photo of Michael Ellis Michael Ellis The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport 10:06 pm, 20th February 2018

No, I certainly would not wish to conflate any of those issues. As I have already delineated, the fact is that there are several examples of coalfield areas that have benefited from Arts Council funding.

As I was saying, £35 million will be invested in the strategic touring fund between 2015 and 2018. The Arts Council is continuing to work hard to create a fairer balance to its funding outside of London. It is no part of my suggestion that there is not more that needs to be done; of course there is. This is something to which the Government are fully committed. I consider that the Arts Council is doing a very good job, and Sir Nicholas Serota is doing very well. I understand that there are currently no national portfolio organisations in the hon. Gentleman’s constituency, although I am sure that the Arts Council would be willing to discuss how that could be addressed in future. I know that, as he loves the arts and supports the priority that culture should and does have in our society, he will want to engage and be willing to discuss how the situation can be addressed.

I emphasise that there is investment through the national lottery grants for the arts scheme, most recently awarded to the Harley Gallery and the artist Anthony Cropper. The hon. Gentleman’s constituency has seen an increase in funding of 269% taking into account all Arts Council funding, when comparing data for 2012-13 with the current financial year.