UK councils own at least 5.5m works of art worth an estimated £2bn but are displaying just a fraction of pieces, new research has found.
Manchester City Council owned the most valuable collection, with a total value of £374m across 46,347 pieces but just 2.1% are on display.
North Herts DC possesses the largest collection of any council with more than one million items while Carlisle City Council was the poorest performing authority in terms of the proportion of art displayed, with just 0.02% of its works on show.
Chief executive of the Taxpayers’ Alliance, Jonathan Isaby, said: ‘No-one is proposing a wholesale sell-off of publicly-owned art, but nonetheless the scale of the collection is staggering.
‘Public bodies and local authorities should make an effort to display more of their art for people to enjoy, and they also need to take a good hard look at their art portfolio and think about what does and does not need to be retained.
‘At a time when we’re making necessary savings, it is only reasonable to ask whether some of the recent purchases represent value for taxpayers’ money.’
Photo: 1000 Words/Shutterstock.com