BRADFORD must find wealthy donors to solve its arts funding crisis, a Cabinet minister said.

Culture Secretary Sajid Javid said other cities faced with making drastic cuts to festivals, theatres and arts organisations had turned to philanthropists for help.

And he suggested it was only the end of public funding – cuts he insisted were unavoidable – that persuaded arts organisers to seek out private donors instead.

Bradford's culture boss responded by accusing Mr Javid of "clutching at straws".

Speaking to the Telegraph & Argus at Westminster, Mr Javid said: “They would say they haven’t really focused on it in the past, because they relied on a steady stream of income that’s now starting to disappear.”

The Culture Secretary was interviewed as Bradford Council prepares to outline fresh cuts to its arts budget, as it battles a £40 million overall funding gap.

The proposals would end support for festivals – including the Ilkley Literature Festival - reduce city centre events and axe some grants for local arts organisations.

There is growing alarm that the knock-on effect of the continued cuts in Government grants to local councils is that hacking back of arts scenes, outside London.

Asked if he was worried, Mr Javid replied: “When I hear stories that festivals can’t carry on - or that theatres that have been there for 30 or 40 years are having to cut back, or close - then clearly I don’t like that

“But there’s not an easy answer where I can say ‘Here’s an extra £10m or £20m’, because I just don’t have it.”

Instead, the Culture Secretary urged Bradford Council to copy other areas that had been “a bit more creative to raise the money that they need”.

He said: “They have taken philanthropy a lot more seriously, for example - and local museums and galleries have had some significant donations from philanthropists.

“If you asked them, they would say they haven’t really focused on it in the past, because they relied on a steady stream of income that’s now starting to disappear.”

Mr Javid agreed philanthropists were harder to find in Bradford, than in London, but he added: “It’s not impossible.”

Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, executive member for culture at Bradford Council, said: "He sounds very out of touch. Does he not realise that his Government has cut Bradford's budget by about a third since 2010, that's £135 million so far?

"Don't get me wrong, I'm already talking to business people and companies in Bradford about how they can play their part in building a good cultural offer in the city.

"However, the Minister is clutching at straws if he expects philanthropists to plug such massive funding gaps.

"I'd like him to focus more on how Government properly funds its own museums like the Media Museum.

"Bradford Council has made its contribution. I'm still waiting to hear what his Government's contribution is going to be."

Cllr Hinchcliffe added that sponsorship could also be difficult to secure.

"Corporate sponsors will want to give money to places like the Royal Opera House - those really iconic cultural assets that are really high profile," she said.

"If there is anybody out there who is feeling philanthropic towards the arts who I have not spoken to yet, please feel free to give me a call."