Businesses abandon culture

Corporate investment falls for fourth consecutive year
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Rebecca Atkinson
Corporate investment in culture fell by nearly £10m last year, despite initiatives from the culture secretary Jeremy Hunt to make 2011 what he called the "year of corporate philanthropy".

Figures from Arts & Business show that private sector investment in culture grew slightly in 2010-11 to £686m on the back of a 6% increase in individual giving and a 10% rise in funding from trusts and foundations.

But investment from businesses fell by 7% to £134.2m, the fourth consecutive annual fall. The level of funding from businesses is now lower than it was in 2004-05.

Philip Spedding, campaign director at Arts & Business, said that this downward trend in business support was a prime concern, with investment in culture still a discretionary spend for businesses. 

“It remains to be seen whether private investment is set to become the dominant funding force of UK culture,” he added.

The government has tried to encourage corporate giving through match funding initiatives such as the Big Arts Give. At the scheme’s launch in 2010, Hunt said it would encourage encourage philanthropy for the arts and culture from businesses and individuals across the UK.

Dan Jarvis, the shadow culture minister, said: “The government promised that cuts in public funding for the arts would be replaced by philanthropists’ generous donations, across the country. We can see that this simply hasn’t happened.”

The figures from Arts & Business also show that organisations in London received 68% of all private sector investment in 2010-11, including 81% of individual giving.

London received £74.8m in corporate investment in 2010-11, compared to £10m in Scotland, £5.1m in Yorkshire and £3.8m in the East of England.

Total private sector investment to museums increased by about £14m between 2010 and 2011, from £94.7m to £109m. The amount of money given to museums is second only to heritage sites, which received £245m in 2011.


Interactive map of investment in culture by region and artform

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