Arts Council budget gets the chop
In times of economic uncertainty, it is perhaps unsurprising that arts organisations feel the pinch more than other industries – after all, compared with schools, hospitals and emergency services, is it not right that culture takes a backseat where government funding is concerned, particularly when there’s precious little cash to eke out? This certainly seems to be the coalition’s point of view at any rate, as the Arts Council’s budget has just been cut by 29.6 per cent.
This means that belts will definitely have to be tightened, with the majority of bodies receiving an equal share of 6.9 per cent, to keep the percentage cut as low as possible, although some will have to keep a firmer eye on the coffers than others. These include Creative, Culture and Education which will see its budget slashed by half, as will Arts and Business, which will also be receiving no core funding beyond 2012.
What’s more, the Arts Council, which supports the Manchester International Festival and the Cultural Leadership Programme among others, will have its budget for strategic opportunities for artistic work reduced by 64 per cent – or £21 million – in 2011.
Chair of the body Liz Forgan noted that the council has been in talks with artists, arts organisations and funding partners about how the sector can be supported in the face of this development.
“These are severe cuts, made worse by the fact that around 80 per cent of them have to come in the first two years of the settlement. We are determined to lead the arts through this tough period, using all our knowledge, expertise, and brokering skills, and drawing on the resourcefulness and imagination around us,” she remarked.
So what does all this mean? Well, a new funding structure has been implemented that will result in quicker decisions for arts bodies regarding immediate funding and give them a year to acclimatise to the new approach due to be enforced from April 2012. This will require organisations to make applications for the period April 2012 to April 2015, with further details to be announced on November 4th.
In short, there are tough times ahead.
- Manchester International Festival braced for more funding cuts (menmedia.co.uk)
- What next for the arts? (bbc.co.uk)