London enjoys an international reputation as a city of arts and culture. The museums, art galleries and West End musicals are packed but are they all tourists or are locals making use of the capital’s rich cultural offering?
A nationwide survey by local authorities suggests that Londoners are generally an arts friendly bunch. 62% said they attended 3 or more arts events in the past year. That’s a touch below the national average. But a higher proportion of Londoners make use of galleries and museums than people in other areas of England. London has a huge selection of museums and galleries and 59% said they had visited one in the past 12 months.
London benefits disproportonately from spending on the arts. A well-regarded indepdendent report Rebalancing our Cultural Capital, published in autumn 2013 found that spending per head in the previous year was £68.99 in London and £4.58 for the rest of England. This included funding from the Arts Council and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. The record of lottery money allocation for the arts shows a similar pro-London bias. From 1995 to 2013 it was £165 per head in London and £46.77 in the rest of England.
Across London there are some wide variations in the engagement with the arts. The people of Haringey appear to be the keenest in the capital Over 80% said they went to 3 or more arts event. In comparison it is just 18% in Newham.
Londoners make more use of libraries than people in England generally. 46% had used a library in the previous 12 months compared to 39% for the rest of the country. Once again there are variations between boroughs. Residents in Bromley and Haringey love their libraries and are 3 time more likely to use them than people in Newham, Southwark or Hammersmith and Fulham. The provision of libraries is broadly similar across these boroughs (9 – 14 establishments) but is lower in Hammersmith and Fulham, which has 6 public libraries.
The active participation survey is done every 2 years and the most recent data available is for 2012-13.