Tories reject IOC amendment for local arts and culture.

Tories reject IOC amendment on economic growth from investing in local arts and culture
Despite a healthy local economy being the county’s joint number one priority, Conservative councilors were unanimous in their rejection of a proposal from It’s Our County to invest £60,000 in Arts and Cultural projects to support the county’s economic growth, tourism and City of Culture 2021 bid.
Cllr Liz Harvey, Deputy Leader of It’s Our County, proposed using savings generated from the fall in the council’s own electricity and energy bills to provide a small pump-priming investment fund to support projects for the county’s UK City of Culture 2021 bid.
Cllr Harvey said “Five years ago the council was spending almost £450 per head of population each year in supporting tourism to the county. Many local businesses depend on the visitor economy and the money brought in each year by tourists is in excess of £500 million. Other cities bidding for City of Culture have made sure local arts projects keep their funding: it’s disappointing our council can’t see the worth of its investment or back its words of support with action. This proposal equates to less than 30p per person – but it would enable arts groups to secure more than £600,000 in external funding from other sources.”
Seconding the proposal, Cllr Jenny Bartlett (Green Party) said “Arts projects attract visitors to Herefordshire. Our creative industries have a track record of securing significant outside funding – but they depend on local authority support as a vote of confidence in their projects, for this to happen. There’s no point this administration investing in building projects to house cultural events and then not providing the seed funding to enable these events to take place.”
Conservative Councillors argued that without a commitment to provide longer term support to these projects – a commitment they were not prepared to make – it was pointless to even begin such an initiative. The proposal was defeated 21 votes to 29 with all Tory councilors voting against the initiative.

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