John Cooper Clarke worried funding for Arts will be spent on "vanity projects" within London

6 July 2020, 18:22 | Updated: 6 July 2020, 18:29

By Seán Hickey

The "punk poet" said the funds made available for the arts and culture sector must be spread to small venues outside London.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak today announced £1.5 billion of funding for arts and culture in the UK as the sector struggles to make ends meet during the lockdown ease.

Poet John Cooper Clarke joined Eddie Mair to discuss the announcement, where he stressed his own hopes for how the money would be used.

"These are unusual times and people need a little help." He began, "I would hope the money finds its way into the provinces and encourages the rebirth of small venues." Mr Cooper Clarke said, paying homage to how his own career took off.

"I hope this translates to help for small provincial clubs really, as opposed to you know, vanity projects in the capital."

John Cooper Clarke worried that the government's funds wouldn't make it to the regions
John Cooper Clarke worried that the government's funds wouldn't make it to the regions. Picture: PA

"My success is mainly down to smaller venues" the poet said, and argued that if funding isn't made available for the regions of the UK "where are the next Beatles gonna come from?"

He reiterated the importance of small venues in the cultivation of the arts in the UK. He said that "the engine room of the part of showbusiness that I'm aware of is in these small places" and to ignore them would be a mistake on the government's behalf.

Mr Cooper Clarke was worried about the potential for the funding to be abused. "I hope it doesn't translate into some large scale vanity project" he said, worried about how the government might distribute funds.