Shipley's MP Phil Davies has highlighted a concern that many of us have raised before - the way in which arts funding is dominated by a limited number of elite arts including opera:
Philip Davies, who sits on Parliament’s Culture, Media and Sport select committee, says he shares concerns that the north is being overlooked for arts funding.
He uncovered figures which show that opera is getting £347.4 million during the five years of the current Parliament, compared to just £1.8 million for brass bands.
Now much though I like opera, I find this a shockingly disproportionate distribution - assuming we support the idea of government funding for the arts (not everyone does, I know), surely art forms like brass band music deserve a fairer share?
What is more dispiriting is that the Director North for Arts Council England (I note the pretentious styling of the organisation's titles and name) can only parrot the official line from their London press office:
There are valuable and varied accounts of the arts and culture landscape across the country and we hope that the Committee receives a range of submissions that show this diversity of experience and opinion
Wibble. The truth is that the Royal Opera House alone will receive £77.5m in Arts Council grant between 2012 and 2015. As far as I can tell this is significantly more that the entire amount of grant funding given by the Arts Council to Bradford organisations. And it dwarfs support for traditional working class arts like brass band music.
It has long seemed to me that we subsidise art for the wealthy while allowing genuine community arts to wither away for lack of support.