We would like to hear your questions about This England. Here’s our response to some of the questions that have been raised so far:
Why did you publish This England?
There’s been a significant debate about the balance of funding between London and the regions recently, This England is our contribution to that discussion. We wanted to show the thinking behind our investment and to present an explanation of our judgements and how we interpret data from across the arts and culture sector to help form policy. We hope it will allow those interested to see how things work, and what we have to do to make sure that the money we have works well alongside other support for culture in this country.
Is the Arts Council England right to say that it is not the country's largest arts funder?
Over the last eight years the Arts Council has not been the biggest investor in arts and culture. In the table on page eight we analysed average yearly spend over time. To take the latest annual spend data in isolation, a year in which there was an exceptional peak in lottery outgoings, masks the overall trend of investment in arts and culture.
Why didn't you include Local Authority spend on libraries in the table on page eight?
We felt that libraries spend should not be included in Local Authority totals as historically this is not a fair like for like comparison with Arts Council funding. Including this figure would not have presented a clear comparison with funding on arts and culture alone, and would mask the truer overall picture. Over the last eight years, even when libraries spend is excluded, local government has been the largest investor in arts and culture.
Why did you present the figures around your strategic touring funds as percentages rather than specific amounts?
Our intention was to show the way that this investment works, rather than the level of investment. We chose to show the investment going into areas as a percentage. The same point could have been made by expressing the investment in numbers, as shown here.
Do the Taking Part figures show a drop in engagement in London?
The Taking Part data clearly shows that there has been no statistically significant change in arts engagement in London. The 2012/13 column shows latest data on percentage of adults engaging with the arts at least once. The key explains that figures in bold represent a statistically significant change since 2005/06 and in the case of London there has been no significant change.
Why include Cambridge and Plymouth as core cities?
We included these two cities to look at the impact of our investment beyond core cities, and to ensure we presented examples of our investment in urban areas across the country. Plymouth and Cambridge were included to give examples of our investment in urban areas in the East and West.
Why don't you include the largest national organisations in some of your data?
We feel it is right to include national organisations as part of the national portfolio income analysis to give the overall picture of our investment, which is why they appear in that data.
We leave national organisations out of analysis of geographical and population benefit because their impact is felt across the country, but we do state we have done this. By ascribing investment to their postcode you mask this impact beyond their postcode area. We have published the data to include national organisations here.