Letter to the Levelling Up Secretary
18 March 2022
Dear Secretary of State
NORTHERN CULTURE AND LEVELLING UP INQUIRY
THE CASE FOR CULTURE:
WHAT NORTHERN CULTURE NEEDS TO REBUILD, REBALANCE AND RECOVER
We were delighted to launch our first report into Levelling Up Northern Culture, calling on Government to put Northern Culture at the heart of the levelling up agenda. Please click here to download the report.
Our report shows the enormous value which Northern culture brings to local economies and communities, and puts forward a 10 Point Action Plan, calling for greater funding and devolved powers for local institutions to invest in culture. In summary, our recommendation highlights policy pathways to levelling up Northern culture through:
- Investing in next-generation creatives: The North needs to see greater investment in a new creative curriculum from early years to higher education that is co-designed and co- delivered with the creative industries, alongside new creative benchmarks, flexi-creative degree apprenticeships and creative enterprise skills.
- Transforming technology to unlock growth: Developing pan-regional and city-region plans to transform hard and soft tech infrastructure would support growth, raise productivity levels, and establish the North as a key driver of national growth.
- Building Back Opportunities: There needs to be greater and more equal access to cultural opportunities in the North. Inclusion and diversity must be front and foremost in the recovery from the pandemic.
- Generating Prosperity Partnerships: The North needs to incentivise new collaborations between cultural, educational, public, third and private sector organisations and freelancers to maximise resources, enhance competitiveness and opportunities, share best practices, and build resilience.
- Securing Flagship Funding: More devolved and less centralised funding would better support creative ideas and generate greater cultural capital across the North. Northern leaders should collaborate and work together to leverage resources and support diverse cross-sector groups
- Defining the cultural value of the North:
Establishing a Northern Culture working group with Northern universities would work to generate a robust evidence base for evaluating the value of the North’s culture and soft infrastructure
- Building back confidence: To fully recover from the pandemic and build back confidence, venues, creatives, and audiences require long-term support to normalise live engagement with culture and the arts, especially in relation to touring and festivals in the North.
- Connecting health and culture: There should be greater collaboration to bring together public bodies to promote the role culture and heritage plays in the North’s wellbeing and to map physical barriers to engagement with culture across the regions of the North.
- Promoting creative leadership: Local government and CAs must operate as a mesh, not as hubs and spokes between the culture of cities and city-regions, countryside, and coastal communities
- Measuring up to Level Up: The North needs to adopt a more strategic and less fragmented approach to Northern culture; fewer short-term interventions, more joined-up thinking, and enhanced focus on cultural literacy and leadership are required across the North to promote and prioritise the importance of Northern culture and heritage to the levelling up agenda.
We very much hope that you will embrace the Northern Culture APPG’s recommendations and refer to its very useful analysis to shape and inform future Government policy thinking.
We would, together with other officers and Parliamentarians, like to extend an invitation to discuss how the report can help the levelling up agenda to succeed. We would also like to extend an open invitation to speak at a future meeting of the APPG.
We look forward to receiving your reply and having the opportunity to discuss our report and hopefully welcoming you to a future meeting.
James Daly MP
Julie Elliott MP