Following last week's announcement by Newcastle City Council of a rolling programme of £90 million in cuts per year, the House of Lords has been debating their impact on culture across Tyneside.
A minister, Viscount Younger, accepted that 'sustained investment' in culture has made Newcastle a centre of culture contributing to the regional economy and the quality of life.
But he added that councils had to reduce their spending.
Viscount Younger said council grants per head of population were significantly higher in the North East than in the South East.
The former leader of Newcastle Council Lord Beecham challenged the minister's version of events, saying the council was being asked to take a disproportionate hit.