Serota: Secretary of State instructed us to take funding out of London

Serota: Secretary of State instructed us to take funding out of London


norman lebrecht

November 04, 2022

The chairman of Arts Council England has just buried the last vestiges of its former independence.

Sir Nicholas Serota has specified that the minister responsible for the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport issued a specific instruction to the ACE on where its money was, and was not, to be spent.

The Council has redefined itself as a rubber stamp.

Serota did not specify which Secretary of State issued the order. Pictured here is Michelle Donelan, who is quite new to the job.


  • Rachelle says:

    This is what the Government considers levelling up!

  • Martin Snell says:

    The Secretary of State should return to working in PR for the World of Wrestling … she is not fit for purpose and probably thinks that The Coliseum is for same.

  • Patrick says:

    Business as usual. People without an iota of knowledge regarding the excellence of performing arts in the UK, are those in charge of said organisations doling out the money.
    (Like the BBC – Suits Rule.)

  • Cynical Bystander says:

    Oh dear, London suffers a cut. Welcome to the reality that everywhere else has learned to have to live with for years. Would the ‘outcry’ be quite so loud if the over generous proportion of London funding remained intact? I somehow doubt it and Serota’s comment feels more like an apology to his metropolitan chums for being forced to look beyond their narrow sense of entitlement.

  • Guest says:

    What is the source? All I can find (in two separate news sites) is a longish statement which includes a specification of which DCMS minister issued the instruction:

    “Over recent years we have been rebalancing our investment to make sure that everyone, whichever corner of England they live in, has better access to great creative and cultural experiences. As part of the process of shaping our 10-year strategy Let’s Create, people have told us that they want to enjoy the arts where they live. The process of shifting the proportion we spend in London may have been speeded up by the instruction we received from the previous Culture Secretary, Nadine Dorries, but it was not a new idea.”

  • sonicsinfonia says:

    The Secretary of State has clearly not read the entire principle on which the Arts Council was set up, which was arms-length funding free of government interference.

  • Old Holborn says:

    Slash and burn…the Tories punish London (which will vote Labour at the next election) and Wales (Labour now). This is cultural vandalism on a grand scale.
    BBC next.