PAUL DOUGHTY misses the point when he criticises public support for the arts in York in times of austerity (Letters, December 5). What is required is careful accounting and close scrutiny of the way public funding is used by arts organisations.

Patrick Kelly’s reply to Coun Doughty (6 December) was absolutely right – a flourishing arts sector does bring financial and cultural benefits to society. Modestly, Mr Kelly fails to reveal that he sits on the board of governors of York Theatre Royal, which receives around £275,000 of York residents’ money.

YTR governors enjoy a number of perks at public expense.

Earlier this year York city councillors and guests were invited to a ‘free’ opening night with drinks – all paid for with public money, and nothing to do with supporting and sustaining creative theatre.

I wonder whether Coun Doughty accepted the invitation, and if he did whether he thought a night out for him and his colleagues was an appropriate use of public money?

I’m all in favour of public support for arts organisations, but not handouts to the people who run them, or to councillors who hold the purse strings.

Colin Hall, Rowntree Wharf, Navigation Road, York.


• INTERESTING project, this floating Arts Barge – never mind we are a few millions short in the budget and are talking of more than 200 job losses at the council. Just one other little problem they seem to have overlooked – our river is famous for flooding on a regular basis.

Even recent events like the Festival of Rivers and the Dragon Boat Race had to be postponed – and while the boat hopefully would survive the force of the murky waters and keep floating, access for visitors would be so restricted. I visited the barge in 2011, moored next to the Bonding Warehouse it was then. Not so sure we should draw even more attention to that once fine but now decaying mess of a building by placing this barge next to it – if anything it will leave visitors with a negative image of York.

And we don’t want that, do we?

Barbara Hudson, Eastfield Crescent, York.