North of England cities get £15m 'cultural powerhouse' boost
A £15m cash fund to boost culture and creativity across the North of England has been announced by the government.
Culture Secretary Karen Bradley said the money would be given "to develop inspirational projects that could have a transformative local effect".
She said it would be a legacy from next year's Great Exhibition Of The North, to be held in Newcastle and Gateshead.
It comes after the government scrapped projects in the north and then backed a £30bn Crossrail 2 scheme for London.
Jake Berry, minister for the so-called Northern Powerhouse, welcomed the cash injection.
He said: "The North is a cultural powerhouse, as well as an economic one, and this £15m fund will give a boost to the region's vibrant culture and tech sectors.
"We've already invested over £3.4bn for projects to boost local economies in the Northern Powerhouse and this latest funding will help make sure the Great Exhibition of the North creates a legacy for years to come."
Under the scheme, towns and cities across the north can apply for grants of up to £4m per project via the Northern Cultural Regeneration Fund.
Projects such as opening a new tech start-up centre or renovating live music venues would be considered.
Ms Bradley said: "We want as many people as possible to benefit from the Great Exhibition Of The North, and this fund will boost the Northern Powerhouse and help build a lasting legacy across the whole region."
The first round of bids will be coordinated by Local Enterprise Partnerships in Cheshire and Warrington, Cumbria, East Riding, Greater Manchester, Humber, Lancashire, Leeds, Liverpool, North East, Sheffield, Tees, York and North Yorkshire.
Successful projects are expected to be announced in March 2018.