ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT..? NOT FOR THE TORIES!

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT..? NOT FOR THE TORIES IF THAT MEANS ARTS AND CULTURE!

Cabinet member Cllr Harry Bramer, whose portfolio includes Cultural Services, is ‘in denial’ about the value of arts and culture to their local economy.

Cllr Bramer’s statement came at the cabinet meeting on 10 March where the cabinet considered an external report on the future of the Hereford’s Museum & Art Gallery, Old House and the Friars Street resource and learning centre. The full report is at:

http://councillors.herefordshire.gov.uk/documents/s50032415/Review%20Museums%20Archives%20Services%20final%20background%20paper.pdf

It provides yet further evidence for the massive ‘added-value’ to the local economy of local authority investment in the entire cultural sector – from Glasgow to Margate, Gateshead to rural Dorset. And in Herefordshire the report states: “for every £1 spent on the Herefordshire Museums Service £8.41 is released into the local economy. Herefordshire’s 33 heritage attractions bring at least £18.8m of tourism value to local businesses.”

Cllr Anthony Powers, group leader of It’s Our County, asked Cllr Bramer to agree that such spectacular evidence should be applied to all Herefordshire’s cultural services, and not just to museums or statutory duties such as Archives and Records, in support of the county-wide UK City of Culture 2021 bid. His answer was a flat “No, I do not agree.”

All Conservative councillors voted against IOC’s recent budget amendment even to re-instate the Council’s meagre £60k support to the county’s arts organisations.

Good to hear such positive, evidence-based leadership on the Council’s agreed joint-top priority of economic development then. Oh dear, I forgot…economic development is all about road building, isn’t it Harry!?

Anthony Powers 12 03 16

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