Commons committee calls for urgent funding to level up through culture

The Commons Select Committee on Culture Media and Sport has called for urgent financial support for theatres, museums and leisure centre in the UK’s regions if the government is to meet its ‘leveling up’ commitments.

The call follows a recent inquiry by the committee looking at the extent to which many parts of the country have previously missed out on cultural initiatives.

The MPs argue that local museums, galleries and theatres have a huge role to play in regenerating high streets and town centres away from the big cities, but that they run up against pervasive and persistent barriers to their success.

As part of its recommendations, the Committee has suggested that the current public funding model needs to be reviewed so that grassroots organizations are not squeezed out by those national cultural institutions that currently receive the bulk of public funding.

The Committee has called for the government and Arts Council England to separate funding for national institutions from local and regional institutions.

Amid the current cost of living crisis, the Committed has also called for targeted support for regional cultural institutions such as introducing VAT cuts and extending business rate relief, to cultural, sporting and media organizations.

Speaking upon the release of the report, the Committee’s Chair, Julian Knight MP said, “In the longer term, a new model of funding is needed which stops cash for culture being hoovered up by all the big players and instead recognises the importance of the grassroots and opening up world-class exhibitions and performances to new regional audiences”.

Continuing he said, “People should be put at the centre of efforts to level up the country through culture. The Government’s renewed focus on skills and vocational education must include support for industry-backed schools, training and apprenticeships. This will both help to tackle the chronic skills shortage inflicting the sector and provide a ladder of opportunity for people across the country”.