Bradford loses out in Arts Council funding to other northern cities

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Mind The Gap actors JoAnne Haines, Gemma Ryan, Alan Clay and Liam Bairstow dress as pirates to promote a recent production of Treasure Island Mind The Gap actors JoAnne Haines, Gemma Ryan, Alan Clay and Liam Bairstow dress as pirates to promote a recent production of Treasure Island

Bradford is losing out on millions of pounds in arts funding because priority is going to bigger northern cities, new figures show.

Through one of its main funding pots, the Arts Council England has spent only £10.69 per person in Bradford over five years, while Leeds has had 11 times as much, at £110.92 per person.

The new figures have been revealed by Bradford Council, which has sent in evidence to a new Government inquiry looking at whether the Arts Council is distributing its funding fairly.

The inquiry is being carried out this month by the culture, media and sport select committee, which includes two of the district’s MPs, Gerry Sutcliffe (Lab, Bradford South) and Philip Davies (Con, Shipley).

The Arts Council has already faced criticism for overlooking northern cities in favour of the South-East, but the new figures also show disparity between northern cities themselves.

They look at the spending on the Art Council’s National Portfolio fund – long-term cash for larger arts organisations – from 2010 to 2015.

The Arts Council has eight ‘core cities’ outside London which get extra investment. In the North they are Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester and Sheffield.

But the Council’s report to the inquiry says despite Bradford being one of the UK’s biggest cities, it gets “significantly less” than these core cities. It says: “On average the eight core cities receive more than seven times per head the amount given to Bradford.”

Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, the Council’s executive member for culture, called on the Arts Council to give more cash to grassroots organisations, “rather than it being sucked into the big institutions in the big cities”.

Coun Hinchcliffe said: “It’s great that they have got an inquiry and are putting a spotlight on this issue.

“It’s also great that we have got Gerry Sutcliffe and Philip Davies on there as well, two Bradford MPs. I’m hoping that with our support they will be able to make a positive case for Bradford nationally, and make sure we get our fair share of funding.”

Michelle Dickson, Arts Council director for the North, welcomed the inquiry, but questioned the usefulness of comparing different cities’ spending per person when developing arts funding policies.

She said: “An even spend per head of population with no centres of critical mass would not be a desirable outcome.

“Investment in core cities across the country means that we have concentrated our funding on urban centres to reach the largest numbers of audiences.”

She said Bradford had some great Arts Council-funded organisations, such as Theatre in the Mill, Mind the Gap and Kala Sangam, and local people also benefited from the significant investment made in Leeds-based organisations such as Leeds Museums, Opera North and Yorkshire Dance.

Comments (10)

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5:56am Mon 3 Mar 14

RollandSmoke says...

I could still do with a new set of strings for my guitar and with £10.69 I could get two sets, one for the electric and one for the acoustic. Where do I apply?
I could still do with a new set of strings for my guitar and with £10.69 I could get two sets, one for the electric and one for the acoustic. Where do I apply? RollandSmoke
  • Score: -7

6:56am Mon 3 Mar 14

allannicho says...

I can just imagine what sort of Art ventures we would get in Bradford.
I can just imagine what sort of Art ventures we would get in Bradford. allannicho
  • Score: 9

7:48am Mon 3 Mar 14

micela22 says...

Have the local councillors been to see the other cities: regrettably there is no comparison between Manchester, Leeds & poor Bradford
Have the local councillors been to see the other cities: regrettably there is no comparison between Manchester, Leeds & poor Bradford micela22
  • Score: 15

9:32am Mon 3 Mar 14

bwwb says...

As there are only 2 northern cities, Sheffield and Leeds, bigger than Bradford size has nothing to do with it
Attitude is the problem
As there are only 2 northern cities, Sheffield and Leeds, bigger than Bradford size has nothing to do with it Attitude is the problem bwwb
  • Score: 7

11:50am Mon 3 Mar 14

Joedavid says...

Media Museum and Odeon Project needs some of that money.
Media Museum and Odeon Project needs some of that money. Joedavid
  • Score: 5

2:27pm Mon 3 Mar 14

Yorkshire Lass says...

Why is this. Maybe if the council applied for more grants, as for instant keeping the Manor House open at Ilkley, or even the Media Museum, there would be more money available to them.
Why is this. Maybe if the council applied for more grants, as for instant keeping the Manor House open at Ilkley, or even the Media Museum, there would be more money available to them. Yorkshire Lass
  • Score: 6

4:47pm Mon 3 Mar 14

Osgood says...

Over many years there has been insufficient investment from a range of agencies to build Bradford's capacity to be a creative centre. Bradford Council is only one strand of funding - and in the face of current cuts imposed by former Council Leader Mr Pickles - it can hardly be expected take on much in the way of funding for the Arts. The Arts Council strategically invests in those areas of strength which are most likely to produce excellent work. Bradford has many such strengths - Mind the Gap, Freedom Studios, Impressions, Artworks and The Theatre in the Mill for example.
However Bradford has not been successful in attracting funding to build its capacity - we lost out on the Capital of Culture Bid and the 'Creative People and Places' bid because we could not demonstrate that the place was worth investing in. Education Institutions, Colleges, University, Bradford Council and the Arts Council all must take some responsibility for that…but the real responsibility lies with the people of the city. Is there a demand for 'home grown' cultural provision..or are we happy to slope off to Leeds and Manchester?
Over many years there has been insufficient investment from a range of agencies to build Bradford's capacity to be a creative centre. Bradford Council is only one strand of funding - and in the face of current cuts imposed by former Council Leader Mr Pickles - it can hardly be expected take on much in the way of funding for the Arts. The Arts Council strategically invests in those areas of strength which are most likely to produce excellent work. Bradford has many such strengths - Mind the Gap, Freedom Studios, Impressions, Artworks and The Theatre in the Mill for example. However Bradford has not been successful in attracting funding to build its capacity - we lost out on the Capital of Culture Bid and the 'Creative People and Places' bid because we could not demonstrate that the place was worth investing in. Education Institutions, Colleges, University, Bradford Council and the Arts Council all must take some responsibility for that…but the real responsibility lies with the people of the city. Is there a demand for 'home grown' cultural provision..or are we happy to slope off to Leeds and Manchester? Osgood
  • Score: -4

7:17pm Mon 3 Mar 14

bcfc1903 says...

There's no excuse for one of the major cities in the UK not getting a proportionate slice of the Art Council money. Bradford has and does produce many great artists and has a wealth of home grown talent and ideas. The gap between what our neighbour receives and what is allocated to Bradford is a complete disgrace.
There's no excuse for one of the major cities in the UK not getting a proportionate slice of the Art Council money. Bradford has and does produce many great artists and has a wealth of home grown talent and ideas. The gap between what our neighbour receives and what is allocated to Bradford is a complete disgrace. bcfc1903
  • Score: 2

9:07pm Mon 3 Mar 14

thatsnotmyname says...

bcfc1903 wrote:
There's no excuse for one of the major cities in the UK not getting a proportionate slice of the Art Council money. Bradford has and does produce many great artists and has a wealth of home grown talent and ideas. The gap between what our neighbour receives and what is allocated to Bradford is a complete disgrace.
Especially when so much of the funds go on stupid schemes or is thrown generously into the hands of mates of various art bodies in Leeds. The arts council funding system lacks accountability.
[quote][p][bold]bcfc1903[/bold] wrote: There's no excuse for one of the major cities in the UK not getting a proportionate slice of the Art Council money. Bradford has and does produce many great artists and has a wealth of home grown talent and ideas. The gap between what our neighbour receives and what is allocated to Bradford is a complete disgrace.[/p][/quote]Especially when so much of the funds go on stupid schemes or is thrown generously into the hands of mates of various art bodies in Leeds. The arts council funding system lacks accountability. thatsnotmyname
  • Score: 3

2:36pm Tue 4 Mar 14

basil fawlty says...

So here we have one good example of where a rich area like leeds effectvely gets subsidised by a poor area like Bradford. What i'd like to see is the T&A investigate other areas of public expenditure to see where Bradford has lost out to Leeds. I'd start with the former Yorkshire Forward quango and see how much they poured into Leeds complared with Bradford.Then I'd move onto public transport.
So here we have one good example of where a rich area like leeds effectvely gets subsidised by a poor area like Bradford. What i'd like to see is the T&A investigate other areas of public expenditure to see where Bradford has lost out to Leeds. I'd start with the former Yorkshire Forward quango and see how much they poured into Leeds complared with Bradford.Then I'd move onto public transport. basil fawlty
  • Score: 1

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