Thursday, March 23, 2023

Yorkshire metro mayors call for further devolved powers over cultural spending

South Yorkshire’s Mayor, Oliver Coppard and the Mayor of West Yorkshire, Tracy Brabin, are calling for devolution of cultural spending and for greater influence of the sector to be moved away from Whitehall controls.

Following the recent launch of Labour’s Gordon Brown Commission on devolution, Yorkshire’s Metro Mayors are backing the call to move away from pitting regions against each other when it comes to bidding for vital funding, but instead to improve the system by giving regional leaders the powers and resources to invest in their local assets.

South Yorkshire’s Mayor Oliver Coppard said: “Not only do our cultural and creative industries significantly contribute to our economic health, they also play a vital role in community cohesion and the health and wellbeing of people in our communities.

“The devolution of powers and spending for arts, culture and heritage will allow us to bring power closer to our communities and to the people who know our region best; it will enable us to collaborate cross-border, rather than competing with one another.

“In turn, we will see local growth and the levelling up of our region. Better decisions can be made on investing in our cultural clusters and harnessing their potential to see our regional and national economy grow.

“Arts, culture and heritage is in Yorkshire’s DNA; we’re home to some of the most impressive and enviable assets which make towns and cities across our region a great place to live, to enjoy and to invest in.

“The Yorkshire Sculpture Park is a leading example of how creative organisations in our region use our natural landscapes to create some of our country’s finest attractions, and how our creative sector contributes greatly to the growth of other key areas including skills, training, and education.”

Mayor of West Yorkshire, Tracy Brabin said: “We’re incredibly fortunate to have so many world-class creative and cultural hotspots in and around Yorkshire, as well as several year-long celebratory events taking place in the run up to Bradford’s year in the spotlight as the UK City of Culture 2025.

“We want to harness these opportunities, driving growth and levelling up our regions to create an economic legacy that will directly benefit our communities for years to come. Devolved spending powers for culture would pave the way for us to achieve this by providing greater targeted investment, regeneration and job creation across the sector and beyond.”

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