Group claims council has 100,000 artworks

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PORTSMOUTH City Council owns more than 100,000 pieces of art, it has been claimed.

The report by the Taxpayers Alliance which submitted Freedom of Information requests showed the authority has 105,773 pieces of art.

However, when asked by The News, the council said the City Museum, which owns most of the art in the city, only has around 8,000 pieces.

The alliance’s claim comes as the authority needs to save £11m next year after already slashing the budget by £13.1m this year.

Nationally, the government owns £3.5bn worth of art – but only three per cent of it is on display.

Gosport Borough Council has 51 pieces of art. However, Havant Borough Council and Fareham Borough Council did not release their figures.

Jonathan Isaby, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: ‘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.’