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Virgin Money CEO, Jayne-Anne Gadhia, today called for evidence for a new enquiry into the resources available for culture in cities across the UK. Conceived by leaders from culture and local government sectors, the Cultural Cities Enquiry brings together experienced innovators from education, property, finance and elsewhere to ensure that culture continues to provide economic and social benefits for communities across the UK.
The Enquiry, which will be independently chaired by Gadhia, has been established as financial pressures on local authority budgets mean that cities have diminishing resources available to fund culture as public funds are diverted to pressing economic and social welfare priorities. City populations are growing larger and more diverse, and the drivers of economic fortunes are evolving rapidly, culture will play a crucial role in helping our cities to draw strength from diversity and grasp the opportunities for success in the years ahead.

Later this year, the Enquiry will produce a report providing practical recommendations to policy-makers, funders, and deliverers of culture to address these challenges. Policy questions the enquiry will examine include:
•    How culture’s contribution to government priorities like integrated communities, loneliness, or skills and education could unlock new funding streams 
•    How tax incentives may be used to encourage cultural investment and philanthropy
•    How cities and cultural organisations can make greater use of innovative financing mechanisms, including social investment, peer-to-peer lending and other forms of repayable finance
•    How cultural organisations could be supported to develop sources of commercial revenue, to become more self-sustaining
•    Whether the planning system or incentives for developers could be used more effectively to provide spaces for culture 
•    How we can increase non-traditional sources of giving, including at community level, through crowdfunding or local sponsorship

The Enquiry board will be made up of expert individuals from a variety of sectors, and includes Chair of Arts Council England, Sir Nicholas Serota, economist Bridget Rosewell, Cardiff City Council Leader Cllr Huw Thomas, Deputy Chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund Seona Reid, and Alison Nimmo, CEO of Crown Estates.

The inaugural board meeting will take place on 18 April 2018 at the Deptford Lounge in Lewisham, an award-winning community hub with a broad range of arts programming and local services. Evidence will be gathered via six roundtable events in other cities across the UK, further Board meetings, expert interviews and a call for evidence, which can be accessed online until 30 May 2018 here.


Jayne-Anne Gadhia, CEO, Virgin Money
“I’m honoured to be asked to chair this important enquiry.  I firmly believe that culture can and should be a force for social and economic good, bringing together communities and driving investment to foster growth.  I hope that through this enquiry, we will be able to provide creative and practical recommendations to really improve the ability of our cities to invest in culture, for the benefit of all.”

Sir Nicholas Serota, Chair, Arts Council England
“Culture is an integral part of life in cities. We need to secure the creative strengths of our great cities by finding fresh ways of doing things. The Cultural Cities Enquiry will look at the current challenges and will seek to provide answers. The pressures on our cities may be great, but the prize is cities that are rewarding places to live in.”

Cllr Huw Thomas, Leader, Cardiff Council - representing Core Cities
“Public sector investment has long been the backbone of UK cultural provision, but after a decade of austerity we cannot fund it in the way we used to. The challenge is compounded as technology changes the way culture is consumed, and the persistent blight of inequality leaves a significant proportion of our most disadvantaged communities with limited access to the arts. That is why the time is right for the Cultural Cities Enquiry being launched today.”

Cllr Alan Waters, Leader, Norwich City Council - representing Key Cities
"The Cultural Cities Enquiry will help us understand the many different benefits that flow from cultural investment and its potential in cities to be a powerful driver for social and economic cohesion".