DCMS committee calls for action on ‘existential threat’ to culture from cost of living crisis 7 Nov 2022

A new report from the cross party DCMS Committee has called for urgent financial support and new regional funding for culture. It finds that as high streets have declined, cultural placemaking is more important than ever, supporting agendas from education to economic growth to health, but that it is often thwarted in practice, with funding for culture falling over many years.  

  • Compared with other European nations, only Greece (0.1%) spends less as a percentage of GDP than the UK (0.2%) on culture, with only Cyprus and Ireland also on 0.2%.
  • This lack of support varies by region, but a redistributive model may not work by itself – first because creative industries develop in clusters, and secondly because redistribution has been built around metropolitan models, itself shutting out more rural locations.
  • The report also found that the lack of long term sustainable funding makes it difficult for cultural organisations to ‘develop, grow, experiment and innovate’. In its evidence to the committee, AIM highlighted research showing that most cultural activity does not regularly access public funding, and that additional money made available tends to land within existing infrastructure, rather than developing where new provision is needed.

  Chair of the Committee Julian Smith MP said “local museums, galleries and theatres have a huge role to play in regenerating high streets and town centres away from the big cities, but they run up against pervasive and persistent barriers to their success. With spiralling energy bills exacerbating the scars inflicted by the pandemic, the Government must come forward with targeted support to ensure local organisations are not hit by a wave of closures at a time when art and culture is more important than ever…” He added that mechanisms should be put in place to prevent ‘cash for culture being hoovered up by all the big players’ and giving space for grassroots organisations to develop for regional audiences. Parliament UK, Museums Journal