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UK’s biggest cities outside London say arts funding climate is ‘critical’

A group representing the 10 biggest cities outside London, including Birmingham (pictured), has responded to a government report on ACE's work. Photo: Jimmy Guano
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A group representing the UK’s 10 biggest cities outside London has described the current arts funding climate as “critical”, and backed calls for more proportionate regional support.

Core Cities UK was reacting to a government report on the work of Arts Council England, which stated that ACE must address the funding imbalance between London and the regions “with greater urgency”.

A response published on the group’s website reads: “We seek acknowledgement that the situation is becoming critical, and we can no longer sustain current levels of [funding] support in the face of rising pressure on services.”

It goes on to state that the eight English cities in the group jointly produce 27% of England’s economy – a larger proportion than the money generated by London.

The response calls for better recognition of regional cities’ role in the arts economy, and “a greater role in shaping the national cultural strategy and delivery”.

The group’s response also highlights the difficulty in getting philanthropic funding outside of the capital, and stresses that this should be taken into account for future arts spending cuts.

Elsewhere in the response, Core Cities UK claims there is little contact between themselves and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. It proceeds to suggest an “improved and mature relationship” in order to discuss “the pressing challenge of sustaining such provision in the face of budget cuts which threaten all but the basic provision of statutory services in future.”

Core Cities UK is made up of representatives from Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol, Glasgow, Cardiff, Sheffield, Leeds, Newcastle, Liverpool, and Nottingham.

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