£15m pot allocated for culture and creativity in the North

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A £15 million fund to boost culture and creativity in the North of England has been launched.

Culture Secretary Karen Bradley said the money would have a "transformative local effect" and provide a legacy from next year's Great Exhibition Of The North.

Jake Berry, the minister for the so-called Northern Powerhouse, said the money came on top of £3.4 billion invested in projects to boost local economies.

The move comes with the Government under fire about a north-south divide in public spending.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling angered politicians in the North by announcing Government support for a £30 billion Crossrail 2 scheme for London, days after axing or downgrading rail projects in Wales, the Midlands and the North.

But in an attempt to show the Government's commitment to the region, Mr Berry said: "The North is a cultural powerhouse, as well as an economic one, and this £15 million fund will give a boost to the region's vibrant culture and tech sectors.

"We've already invested over £3.4 billion for projects to boost local economies in the Northern Powerhouse and this latest funding will help make sure the Great Exhibition Of The North creates a legacy for years to come."

Next year's Great Exhibition will take place in Newcastle and Gateshead, backed by £5 million of taxpayers' money to showcase Northern art, design and innovation.

The £15 million Northern Cultural Regeneration Fund is open to bids from across the North.

Ms Bradley said: "We want as many people as possible to benefit from the Great Exhibition Of The North, and this fund will boost the Northern Powerhouse and help build a lasting legacy across the whole region."

The first round of bids will be coordinated by Local Enterprise Partnerships in Cheshire and Warrington, Cumbria, Greater Manchester, Humber, Lancashire, Leeds City Region, Liverpool City Region, North East, Sheffield City Region, Tees Valley, York and North Yorkshire and East Riding.

The successful projects will be announced in March 2018.

A further round of funding may follow if all the available funds have not been committed.

Officials suggested projects could include opening a new tech start-up centre or renovating live music venues.