Wales Green Party warns of possibility of Welsh Arts being sponsored by fossil fuel companies

23 August 2017

The Culture, Welsh Language and Communications committee are holding an inquiry into increasing non-public funding of arts in Wales. The committee has said the funding would include earned income, philanthropy and investment.


 The public consultation is seeking examples of innovative approaches to raising non-public funding of the arts in Wales and is due to close this Friday (25th).


The Culture, Welsh Language and Communications committee inquiry aims to seek ways to reduce public funding of institutions such as the Arts Council and local authorities, as well as individual artists and arts organisations. Currently, £31.2 million out of £31.7 million allocated to arts in Wales goes to the Arts Council of Wales, but there is a fear that with Brexit European funding for the arts will not be replaced. 


Young Greens of England & Wales Co-Chair Sam Murray, said:


“The Culture, Welsh Language and Communications committee are looking to reduce public funding of the arts but at what cost? The Green Party are increasingly concerned that fossil fuel companies will seek to fill the funding gap for good PR whilst they continue to damage our planet.


BP have recently committed to a five-year investment programme of £17.5 million in for a range of projects at the British Museum, the National Portrait Gallery, the Royal Opera House and the Royal Shakespeare Company. Big oil companies such as BP use arts funding as a big PR stunt. It is extremely important to avoid investment from fossil fuel companies in our efforts to tackle the climate crisis. Yet there is a very real possibility that fossil fuel companies will make a move to sponsor Welsh arts and the Welsh Government would accept this solution of investment in their desperation to reduce public funding of arts.”


 “At a time when Wales is considering mass investment in renewable infrastructure there is no doubt fossil fuel companies will be planning to benefit from investing into the arts in Wales in order to push the Welsh Government to drop their plans to invest in renewable energy. As the divestment movement has had growing success and the Swansea tidal lagoon is set to approved, fossil fuel companies need to find their political feet and a sponsorship scheme offers an excellent way for them to do this.”


“The Welsh Government would be well to remember that the reason the big oil companies have kept a relatively low profile of their sponsorship of various institutions across the UK is that the public are not incredibly keen to have British arts funded by fossil fuel firms. For example, following the successful Liberate the Tate campaign against their sponsorship, BP has been forced to drop their sponsorship of Tate which they will do this year.”


“It is extremely important that the public are aware of the possibility of the Welsh arts being sponsored by fossil fuel companies. This would be detrimental to our democracy and would open a way for fossil fuel companies to lobby the Welsh Government.”


Grenville Ham, leader of the Wales Green Party said: “The Wales Green Party will be submitting to the inquiry fossil-fuel-free solutions to funding the arts in Wales. For a nation that has so much potential to create a new, fossil fuel free economy, it would not be right to tie our arts in the past.”  

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