Rebalancing Our Cultural Capital
A contribution to the debate on national policy for the arts and culture in England


15% of the population of England lives in London. In 2012/13, Arts Council England (ACE) distributed £320m of taxpayers' money to the arts with £20 per head of population (php) allocated in London against £3.60 php in the rest of England.

In the same year the Department of Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) distributed £450m of public funds from the same source directly to major 'national' cultural institutions with – this report estimates – £49 php in London against £1 php in the rest of the country.

In total in 2012/13 taxpayers from the whole of England provided benefit to London of £69 php against £4.60 php in the rest of the country – a ratio of 15:1.

A pattern of public funding that favours London has existed since the foundation of the Arts Council. A trend to enhance the imbalance has been consistent for at least 30 years.

During this period successive Governments and Arts Councils have acknowledged the imbalance but argued that it would need a significant new injection of funds to enable redress.

Since 1995, Arts Council England has had stewardship responsibility for – and has distributed – £3.5 billion of 'new and additional' funds for good causes in the arts from the National Lottery.

This report argues that funds from the National Lottery – derived disproportionately from the less well off in society – carry a different ethical mandate for the Arts Council. This suggests there is a need for, at least, geographically proportionate distribution related to size of population.

In fact, Arts Council distribution of its £3.5 billion of new National Lottery funding has provided benefit to London of £165 php against £47php in the rest of England over the 18 years of the Lottery to date.

Last year's figures, combining taxpayers' and Lottery players' funds distributed by Arts Council England show benefit to London of £86 php against £8 php in the rest of England – a ratio of 11:1.

One way to begin redress would be to allocate London its fair 'per capita' share of arts Lottery funding, for an initial five-year period.

The 'core' treasury funding of arts organisations and cultural institutions in London would not be affected. Funds available to London overall would reduce by just over 10%. Cultural production outside London could then benefit over the five years by a total of £600m. This is still less than the cost to the Lottery of the Millennium Dome.


Publication and provenance

Rebalancing Our Cultural Capital, an evidence based report addressing the balance of arts funding between London and the rest of England, was published on Thursday 31 October 2013.

The report has been produced – independently and at their own expense – by Peter Stark, Christopher Gordon and David Powell. The research reveals the extent of bias towards London in public funding of the arts provided by taxpayers and National Lottery players throughout England.

Endorsements of the report

"This report is timely, urgent and damning of an increasingly centralised funding process. London is simply eating up the resources, which are limited, and is therefore starving the rest of the country. This is wrong, short sighted and undoubtedly unfair. I think it is time that the rest of England fought back and I wholly support the contents of Rebalancing Our Cultural Capital."

Melvyn Bragg

"Three wise and experienced men have, at their own expense, produced a well-researched report that leaves no doubt about the wholly unjustifiable scale of bias towards London in the distribution of public and lottery funding of the arts. To their credit, they also offer a statesmanlike proposal for beginning to redress the balance without any additional call on public funds, and at a time when there is rising anger about policies that allow London – most especially affluent Londoners – to be underwritten at the expense of the rest of the country."

David Puttnam

Rebalancing Our Cultural Capital reviewed 6 months on
We are delighted that the ROCC Report - published six months ago - has been useful in stimulating and informing a widening and deepening debate on future policy for the arts and culture in England.

We accepted that data not available to us in relation to the benefit of touring from London to the rest of the country would need to be incorporated into our findings to enable a more accurate picture of the balances of benefit between London and the Regions to be drawn. Information recently been published in Arts Council England's report 'This England' and subsequent research by ourselves and Arts Professional editor Liz Hill now enable adjustments to be made to the data. The make a marginal difference to the numbers involved, allowing us to confirm the analysis and reaffirm the conclusions of our report.

A summary of all the adjustments is available as a download

NEW in APRIL 2014 : the PLACE Report
In April 2014, the ROCC authors published a new report (The PLACE Report: Policy for the Lottery, the Arts and Community in England) which provides further analysis on who contributes to and who benefits from the Arts Lottery in England. PLACE can be downloaded from

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