Image: Si Chun Lam / Wikimedia Commons
Image: Si Chun Lam / Wikimedia Commons

“Full investigation” into City of Culture failures as Coventry MP raises concerns

A Coventry local MP called for a “full investigation” into the Coventry City of Culture Trust during a parliamentary debate on its financial collapse.

Taiwo Owatemi, MP for Coventry North West, raised the matter during an adjournment debate regarding ‘Government support for Coventry City of Culture Trust’ on 14 June.

The trust was created to oversee a three-year legacy programme after Coventry’s reign as the UK’s City of Culture ended in May 2022.

The trust received millions in government funding and a £1m loan from Coventry City Council after revealing its financial difficulties last year, which it has said is unlikely to be repaid this year.

The trust has delivered numerous art and cultural events like … Resonate 2022 at the University of Warwick

–Anonymous Student involved in Coventry City of Culture events

It also failed to repay its creditors, one of which was the West Midlands Police.

During the parliamentary debate, Owatemi asked the government to ensure that money is transferred to stakeholders, so the legacy project can continue.

She also demanded that the government fully investigate the trust’s bankruptcy and supervise it more closely to ensure sound financial management of the programme in the future.

Stuart Andrew, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, responded that detailed work will be done after the National Audit Office’s report is published this summer.

A Warwick student who has volunteered at Coventry City of Culture events said: “I hadn’t heard much on the financial crash at all and feel like it had been hidden completely … I was shocked but then most surprised — it seemed like so much was going into city of culture and I did wonder where it was all coming from.”

“I feel like my voluntary experience was generally good and successful … I met wonderful volunteers and learnt a lot.

“The trust has delivered numerous art and cultural events like the Resonate 2022 at the University of Warwick.”

However, the University of Warwick and Coventry University, funding partners of the Trust, quit the Trust’s board after it received loans from Coventry City Council.

A Warwick spokesperson said: “We did not support additional public money being used to keep the charitable trust going.”


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