Support the luvvies!

Tomorrow morning Somerset county council will decide whether it will cut 100% of its direct grants to the arts, amounting to roughly half its total cultural spend.

Mustn\’t allow them to do that now, must we? You know, democratically elected politicians deliberating over how to spend the taxpayers\’ money? No, of course not, that would be letting this accountability, localism, shit to get well out of hand.

The National Campaign for the Arts estimates that every £1 of grant given to the arts brings a fifteen-fold return in investment into the county – a £3.75m contribution. The creative industries in Somerset employ more than 8,000 people with an annual turnover greater than £345m. This economic argument would stand, even if the arts development budget wasn\’t reported to be £159,000 – 0.0004% of the Council\’s overall expenditure.

It\’s also 0.05% of total turnover is the subsidy. The sort of amount that is simply a rounding error. I would be amazed if the recipients are not spending more than that on applying for the grants.

8 comments on “Support the luvvies!

  1. Another economic perpetual motion machine from a Labour MP, which indicates why Labour were so hopeless with our money. If it were really true that the Arts produces a 15-fold return on investment then we could become fabulously wealthy just by throwing all our money at the Arts.

  2. These philistine remarks from TW are odd from someone who has recently confessed to spending over two years (but no money) locating a recording from a seventy-year old concert (From Spirituals to Swing) organised by uber luvvie the selflessJohn Hammond ,at a time when the market system had left some of the performers like Meade Lux Lewis playing part-time.
    People like good entertainment when they stop working: in Texas computing industries are joined by a country music industry and even a burgeoning film industry to rival Hollywood in quality.
    Young intelligent people would need some kind of interesting-way-of-life inducement to settle in Somerset beyond that presently provided by market forces .

  3. “People like good entertainment when they stop working”

    Not enough to pay for it, presumably?

    “in Texas computing industries are joined by a country music industry and even a burgeoning film industry to rival Hollywood in quality.”

    What subsidies does Texas offer for country music and movie making?

  4. Nobody wanted to pay for Lewis and Ammons to play in Carnegie Hall until John Hammond pulled God knows what strings to get them on there.The private sector market system could n’t organise anything so straightforward : nobody was buying any records for starters. We do live in a mixed economy and there is a place for public sector “loss leaders” to get talented people to relocate to dumpsville places like Bridgwater.

  5. there is a place for public sector “loss leaders” to get talented people to relocate to dumpsville places like Bridgwater

    But do they relocate?

    Or do they simply parachute in, play their jingles to a disinterested crowd of yokels, collect their cheques and then make for the city limits with embarassing haste while phoning their agents with instructions never to publicly mention they’ve played in such an unfashionable dump?

  6. every £1 of grant given to the arts brings a fifteen-fold return in investment into the county

    I’m spotting a bit of creativity right here. Sadly it’s of the accounting persuasion.

    What I suspect is being done is someone has added up all the money given out in grants and then comparing that to all the money earned by the entire arts and entertainment industry*. In other words they are claiming credit for revenues from projects which have never seen a penny of public support. Since the private sector, profitable bit (West End musicals, Sci Fi skeet skop and donder movies etc) is probably much larger than the unprofitable, state subidised one (translations of obscure Polish plays from the 1950′s) the differential is likely to be very large – possibly on a scale of 15 to 1 even.

    *Probably using revenue rather than profit to compound the crime.

  7. I would have thought it was pretty obvious, on the old O level Comprehension basis,that the people dead-and- alive places with names like Zoyland have to tempt to relocate are creative people who attend concerts not the birds of passage who perform in them.
    There is a vast literature on this kind of arts/creative based urban renewal from Richard Florida on his Creative Class website.
    But ,of course, in boringly puritanical Britain it would better for communities to be dead and strictly private sector than for them to show the slightest spark of life, a few foreign films ,the odd concert if there was the suspicion of public funding.
    It would make more sense if all this creeping privatisation (the reverse of Fabianism) had not
    pushed the economy into a huge recession.The post-war mixed economy with all its nationalised industries never made such a total and complete balls -up as the destroy the public-sector fanatics.

Leave a Reply

Name and email are required. Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>