How The Poorly Paid Are Excluded From Cultural Life

In England, a whole section of society, the poorly paid, are excluded from cultural events such as classical music concerts and the theatre.

At the Sage Concert Hall in Gateshead this evening there is a concert featuring music by Weber, Beethoven and Brahms. It's a programme that Mrs MP and myself would thoroughly enjoy but we simply cannot afford to go as I am unwaged but not claiming unemployment benefit. Full priced tickets are £35.00 ($42.67) each. If you are unemployed, a child or a student you can buy the tickets for a mere £5.00 ($6.10). This is a good thing as it does give young people and the unemployed the opportunity to experience a bit of high culture at a just about affordable price. However, if you work, for example, forty hours a week on the minimum wage, you would earn £288.00. To buy a ticket for yourself and your partner would cost you £70.00 which is, with the cost of living what it is at present, unaffordable. This situation is made more unfair by the fact that people who are excluded from concerts and plays by the unrealistic pricing of tickets still pay towards the cost of the productions as the taxes they pay (direct and indirect) go, in part, towards the subsidising of the performances by the government.

I have said before that one of the things I hate most about being hard up is the lack of access I have to the cultural events I used to enjoy, if only occasionally, when I was still employed by the Church of England.


How The Poorly Paid Are Excluded From Cultural Life — 2 Comments

  1. Yes, I live well on my £74 and some pence pension per week (largely because my husband’s pension is double mine;) it’s a life with lots to enjoy but secretly I would have loved to be able to afford to join the college library and take that degree course; I would have loved to experience more of the world and every now and again, like you, there is something that I pragmatically decide cannot be afforded. I think of Jesus in the Gospel of Thomas comparing his followers to the poorest of the poor, the children that their parents couldn’t afford to support who worked as casual farm labourers and at the end of the season lost even what little they had as they were thrown out to fend for themselves. The value of a life is not determined by what we own but what we give.

    • Yes, but I’m not talking about ownership, I am talking about experience. What is the point of God creating music if only those who exploit others get to enjoy it?