Another day, another question (they're like buses - you wait for ages then three come along all at once) - this time to the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport, the Rt. Hon. Jeremy Hunt MP.
I asked him how much money the Arts Council spends in London and how much of that comes to Croydon. The answer was that between 1st April and 1st December 2010, London as a whole received £191.4 million. Out of that, Croydon got a paltry £210,000 - just 0.1% of the total when we make up nearly 4.5% of London's population.
Neither the Fairfield Halls nor the London Mozart Players, one of the country's best chamber orchestras who are resident at the Fairfield Halls, get any funding. With the Council having to make difficult spending decisions, including on the arts, it’s more important than ever that Croydon receives its fair share from the Arts Council. At the moment, they seem to be pursuing the kind of zone 1 approach so beloved of the former Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone. That needs to change and quickly. Richard Ottaway, Malcolm Wicks and I have written to Veronica Wadley, the London Chair of the Arts Council, and we will now be raising these shocking figures with her.