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Local government support for arts and culture

  • By London Councils

London local government makes a major contribution to cultural provision in the capital, spending £232 million on arts and culture in 2013/14. This is in the context of real financial pressures, which include core local government funding reducing by 44 per cent in real terms from 2010/11 to the end of 2015/16. 

Faced with difficult financial decisions, boroughs’ direct spend on arts and culture has reduced in recent years, but this does not represent the full picture of London local government’s support for arts and culture. Councils continue to make investments that support and value culture above and beyond what is defined as culture spend, such as:

  • supporting arts and culture through educational programmes
  • delivering cultural activities in the context of public health and social care
  • implementing culture-led regeneration programmes
  • using planning policy to develop cultural and creative infrastructure
  • providing in-kind support such as subsidised space, promotional activity,regulatory support and advice.

Drawing on research carried out with local authorities and the arts and culture sector, London Councils has produced a report which makes twenty recommendations as to how London’s boroughs can continue to support local arts and culture in their capacity as commissioners of local services, landlords, planning authorities, strategic brokers and champions of local arts and culture.

This report follows on from two previous pieces of work - research that London Councils conducted with London's local authorities to identify the nature and extent of the support they provide to arts and cultural organisations, and a report by BOP Consulting, supproted by Arts Council England, to explore the value that arts and culture organisations place on this support. 

All three reports can be downloaded from this page.