Hounslow Council's Lack Of 'Culture Vultures'

Bottom of the list of London councils for arts spending

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Hounslow Council has the lowest annual budget for arts and culture, according to new figures which analyse what London Councils spent on cultural activities.

LBH has defended its arts budget of £70,000 a year- less than half that allocated to the arts by Ealing- and pointed to increased funding for the Waterman's art centre in Brentford which will receive a large Arts Council grant next year.

Figures released by 50p for culture, a new campaign by The National Campaign for the Arts chaired by actor Sam West, show that LBH's budget for 2013/14 was £70,000 which the group worked out at £1.72 per resident for the year, or 3p per week.

The group says the average spend by a local authority on the arts is 16p per person. Ealing Council's arts budget was £1.5 million or 12p per resident per week. Barnet, Wandsworth and Westminster also fare badly when the spending per resident is rated- figures are weighted by borough population (see below)

Kensington & Chelsea have the highest spend per resident per week at 36p, while Richmond upon Thames, with an annual budget of over £1 million is reckoned to spend 13p per week per resident, which is still below the average.

A Hounslow council spokesperson said: “Hounslow Council invested £70,000 last year and next year the council will increase this to £130, 000 to enable our partner Watermans Arts Centre to deliver arts and cultural projects for our residents.
“In addition to this increased spending, Hounslow Council with Watermans, secured £1 million from the Arts Council last year.”

Watermans in Brentford

One local expert said it was difficult to analysis exactly how LBH spends its budget on cultural activities throughout the borough, as private contractors such as Carillion now carry out much of the management.

Val Bott, chairman of the William Hogarth Trust and a museums and heritage consultant, said that it was probably only to be expected that funding for non-statutory (ie not legally required) cultural services would be threatened in a period of savage cuts to local authorities' central government funding - it is the statutory services like education and social services which have to have priority.

"That said, it is almost impossible to discover exactly what Hounslow spends on its cultural services because it has out-sourced management of these services to Carillion and no such information is available now."

She said;"While LBH has not traditionally been seen as a high spending authority in relation to arts and culture, it has invested in its heritage. It made a major contribtuion towards the cost of refurbishing Hogarth's House (completed in 2011) and has ensured that a temporary lottery-funded post there has become permanent.

"In addition, Hounslow has committed to a substantial sum towards the regeneration of Gunnersbury Park and Gunnersbury Park Museum; applications to the Heritage Lottery Fund have been submitted and we will know in July whether these have won major grants".

The figures have been released by 50p for culture a new campaign to get Councils to spend more money on the arts.The National Campaign for the Arts (NCA) launched the new campaign to increase local authority investment in the arts, in response to a recent poll that found 63% of people believe local authorities should invest at least 50p per person per week in the arts, museums and heritage.

The group invites people to log onto the website and input their postcode to get a view of where their local authority comes for spending on culture.. http://www.50pforculture.org/

Budgeted Net Spend by Local Authorities on arts, museum and heritage for 2013/4
Area Population Culture Spending including capital charges (£000) Total Spending Per Person Per Annum (£) Total Spending per person per week (£)
London 8,204.40 69,260 8.44 0.16
London (excluding City of London) 8,197.00 42,073 5.13 0.10
Hounslow 254.9 70 1.72 0.03
Barnet 357.5 96 1.71 0.03
Wandsworth 307.7 -2 1.44 0.03
Westminster 219.6 0 1.44 0.03
Haringey 255.5 197 2.21 0.04
Redbridge 281.4 165 2.03 0.04
Brent 312.2 374 2.64 0.05
Islington 206.3 194 2.38 0.05
Lambeth 304.5 376 2.68 0.05
Merton 200.5 245 2.67 0.05
Bromley 310.6 596 3.36 0.06
Hammersmith and Fulham 182.4 263 2.89 0.06
Camden 220.1 517 3.79 0.07
Harrow 240.5 735 4.5 0.09
Southwark 288.7 900 4.56 0.09
Tower Hamlets 256 1,004 5.37 0.10
Greenwich 255.5 1,034 5.49 0.11
Hackney 247.2 1,114 5.95 0.11
Hillingdon 275.5 1,223 5.88 0.11
Ealing 339.3 1,590 6.13 0.12
Waltham Forest 259.7 1,220 6.14 0.12
Newham 310.5 1,638 6.72 0.13
Richmond upon Thames 187.5 1,024 6.91 0.13
Sutton 191.1 988 6.61 0.13
Bexley 232.8 1,352 7.25 0.14
Enfield 313.9 1,867 7.39 0.14
Havering 237.9 1,514 7.81 0.15
Kingston upon Thames 160.4 1,024 7.83 0.15
Barking and Dagenham 187 1,349 8.66 0.17
Croydon 364.8 2,748 8.98 0.17
Lewisham 276.9 2,066 8.9 0.17
Kensington and Chelsea 158.3 2,747 18.8 0.36
City of London 7.4 27,187 3,675.36 70.68

April 8, 2014