British Museum

British Museum

Patrick Diamond, an adviser who worked under both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown has called for more of the country’s cultural assets to follow the BBC and head north as part of a ‘national economic strategy’.

In a new book he urges a massive shift of power to the regions that would that would put communities, councils and other civic leaders in charge of a localised economy.

This would involve giving councils and other regional bodies more powers to support businesses and local infrastructure projects – including the expansion of regional airports – and using public procurement to support small firms.

And he cites the BBCs move to Salford as one of the reasons why major cultural attractions such as the British Museum and the Royal Opera House should be re-located to Northern cities and that the House of Lords should be given a regional base.

“There is evidence to suggest the BBC has had a positive effect on the creative economy of the North West of England.

“Key public institutions ought to be dispersed outside London. For example, the House of Lords ought to have a regional base; cultural institutions such as the Royal Opera House and the British Museum ought to be re-located in Northern cities.”

Dr Diamond, who helped write Labour’s 2010 manifesto, puts forward his ideas in a book produced by the Institute for the Study of Civil Society, Civitas entitled Transforming the Market.

He also proposes:
• Better quality of apprenticeships and a renewed emphasis on traditional craft skills, adoption of the living wage and a more equitable distribution of wealth through pay packets (“predistribution”)
• Reform of corporate governance, including making predatory takeovers more difficult, and extending employee ownership with partial remuneration through shares