Why the Culture Recovery Fund is a missed opportunity to level up the arts

The fact that London benefits the most from the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund is no great shock. But maybe it should be.

This isn’t just a north-south divide, it’s a London-everywhere else divide

Many will say that it’s no earth-shattering surprise that London is the main recipient of emergency arts funding, given how it dominates the cultural map of the UK.

The announcement of the latest tranche of grants from the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund today will likely be met with barely a shrug by the national media.

Sign up to our NationalWorld Today newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The reasoning in their news conferences will go something like this: most of the cultural jewels of the nation are located here in London, so it follows that there are more and larger organisations in the capital in need of support.

But does that really justify the fact that, by head of population, London receives more than three times as much arts funding than the East Midlands and the East of England?

Even the North West of England, which comes second in the table, trails £11 per head of population behind the capital (£26 per head).

This isn’t just a north-south divide, it’s a London-everywhere else divide.

The South East benefits from just £9.49 per head of population, and the South West is little better at £13.05.

No-one denies that the arts sector has been particularly hard hit by the pandemic, and is in desperate need of this support if it is to survive beyond the lockdown.

But it’s time that the Government used pots of taxpayers’ money like the Culture Recovery Fund to redress the stark imbalance of the UK’s arts landscape.

Do you agree? Have your say on our Facebook page.