U.K. arts funding body Arts Council England has revealed how its plans to implement the 29.6% cuts to its budget, announced earlier this month as part of the Government’s Spending Review.
As previously reported, Arts Council England’s government grant of £449 million ($706 million) will be cut by 29.6% to £349 million ($549 million) by 2014, as part of the U.K. government’s plan to tackle the budget deficit. The U.K. Musicians’ Union (MU) immediately condemned the cuts calling the measures “devastating to music and culture.” (Billboard.biz, Oct. 22).
The Arts Council distributes funds to hundreds of arts organizations and projects throughout the United Kingdom, including venues, galleries, cultural projects and theater groups. The music sector that will be hardest hit by the cuts will be the classical market, which has traditionally received a high proportion of funding and financial support from the Arts Council.
The funding body also supports a large number of cross cultural national events that have a strong music remit, including the bi-annual Manchester International Festival (MIF), which has previously played host to concerts from Leonard Cohen, Lou Reed, Elbow and Gorillaz. Organizers have said the 2012 MIF, which features actor Willem Dafoe and musician Antony Hegarty of Antony and the Johnsons among its line up, will still go ahead.
Among the cuts announced today (Oct. 26) are:
• A 6.9% across-the-board cash cut for U.K. arts organizations in 2011/12.
• A 14.9% real-terms cut to the money available for the regular funding of arts organizations by 2014/15.
• Significant cuts to the funding of Creativity, Culture and Education, Arts and Business, and the Arts Council’s development funds.
• A 50% reduction to the Arts Council’s operating costs, currently stated as £22m ($34.8m), by 2015.
In a statement, Liz Forgan, chair of Arts Council England, said: “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.”
“These measures are designed to ensure a strong and resilient future. The country needs its artists at a time like this and we are about building, as well as sustaining, our unparalleled arts and cultural sector,” she continued.
According to a statement released by Arts Council England, between 2008 and 2011 the organization will have invested £1.3 billion ($2 billion) into arts funding.