Live updates

Questions for councils over artwork kept in stortage

ITV News has learned that local authorities across Wales are keeping most of their artwork hidden away in storage.

Freedom of Information requests have found councils own about 30,000 pieces of art - valued at £50m.

The figures come as local authorities face making cutbacks of millions of pounds, as they try to balance the books.

Councils: Art in storage for security and preservation

The body which represents Wales' councils said many pieces of art are kept in storage to ensure their security and preservation.

Councils play a vital guardianship role for the protection of public artworks and will obviously, wherever possible, seek to ensure that they are made available for public viewing and enjoyment.

Many works will however be kept in storage simply because this is the most sensible way of ensuring their security and their long term preservation.

Local government in Wales does face growing and significant financial pressure when it comes to the funding available for local public services, but any sale of council owned artwork to raise extra funds for local services would need to balance this against the loss of the historical and cultural legacy that these artworks represent.

– Welsh Local Government Association spokesperson

Cardiff Council, which has £36m of artwork - more than the rest of local authorities added together - said there are no current plans to sell its artefacts.

It said much of its artwork cannot be sold as it was given to the people of Cardiff in the form of bequests, and reiterated that the majority of items are on permanent display.

Advertisement

Welsh councils own £50m of art - most not on display

An ITV News investigation has found that councils in Wales own nearly £50m worth of art but the vast majority of it is not on display to the public.

Local authorities own over 30,000 pieces of art - but 26,000 of those are in storage.

Newport Council has more than 6,650 pieces of artwork in storage.

Cardiff Council alone has £36m of artwork.

There are now calls for authorities to display more of the works, or sell them to generate money.

Advertisement

No manifesto pledge to prevent council shake-up

One obstacle in the way of a council shake-up may have already been cleared. When Carwyn Jones said recently that he's 'open' to the idea of starting the process of reorganisation before the next Welsh election he also said he 'doesn't like changing manifesto commitments.' Read what he said here.

But it turns out there is no manifesto commitment NOT to reorganise local government before the 2016 election. You can search Labour's 2011 manifesto for yourself here. It seems it had been a pledge during the drafting process but didn't make it to the final document.

The rest of the First Minister's hurdles remain and it's still unlikely that any legislation to cut the number of councils would make it through the Assembly before 2016. But at least Carwyn Jones doesn't have to worry about breaking a manifesto pledge.

  1. ITV Report

Sharp End

Welsh Govt agrees need to tackle council chiefs' pay

The Welsh Government has confirmed that it's looking at ways of meeting opposition parties' demands on the pay of council chief executives in order to avoid defeat on forthcoming important legislation. A spokesperson said:

The Welsh Government recognises that the pay of local authority chief executives is an issue which needs to be determined in an open and transparent way and there needs to be effective mechanisms in place to ensure this happens. Listening to concerns over this matter, we are currently considering options for this at Stage 3 of the Local Government Democracy (Wales) Bill.

– Welsh Government spokesperson