I first visited museums and galleries in any meaningful way in about 2001, following the introduction of the Government’s free entry policy.

Visitor numbers exploded and it opened up a new world for working class people like me. That is why I strongly opposed our museums introducing charging in 2015, when council funding changes for culture led to a predictable impact; a generation shut out of the arts.

Now, following the impact of the pandemic, museums and galleries are once again looking to widen cultural participation to all residents.

Indeed, the Arts Council’s latest strategy lists inclusivity as a key investment principle, stating that ‘if access to either creativity or culture is limited by where people come from or what they do, the whole of society loses out.’

Arts and culture help tackle social injustice – galleries, theatres, museums and libraries are the beating heart of our towns and cities.

They bring prosperity, they bring communities together and they improve people’s happiness and wellbeing.

Austerity has hit discretionary local government budgets for culture especially hard. One thing we can do to secure culture for the future is to support York Art Gallery by visiting the art that is owned by all of us and that is now, thankfully, free to all once again.

Cllr Danny Myers (Labour), Trustee of York Museums Trust, St Olaves Road, Clifton