News: Arts Council England

Wednesday 2 April 2003

Arts Council England – has announced its three-year spending plan, including growth of £75 million in 2004/05 and 2005/06. The Arts Council’s grant-in-aid will increase from £335 million in 2003/04 to £410 million in 2005/06.

In a radical new budget that covers the entire country, many organisations will receive a step change in their funding to help them realise major ambitions. There is substantial investment in new ground-breaking organisations and the previously less recognised arts, for example circus and carnival arts. Classical music has also done well, with £1.3m allotted for venues in Aldeburgh, Suffolk, Dartington in Devon the Sage in Gateshead. The Royal Opera House’s education and outreach programme received a significant increase.

£25 million will be available to individual artists in England – double the current provision.

Arts organisations that receive three-year revenue funding from the Arts Council will benefit from a total increase of 17.8 per cent – from £255.3 million in 2003/04 to £300.8 million in 2005/06. New and innovative organisations that do not receive regular funding will benefit from £123 million available through grants for the arts.

Peter Hewitt, Chief Executive, said:
‘As one organisation we have been able, for the first time in decades, to take a ‘big picture’ approach, looking at how to apply all of our money to all of the arts across all of England. In the process, we have made some clear and tough choices, and we have matched our money to exciting ideas and rewarded big, bold initiatives.’

Gerry Robinson, Chairman, said:
‘The Government recognised the vitality of the arts and responded to the changes we made to the Arts Council with £75 million of new funding. It is our central belief that the arts have the power to transform lives, communities and opportunities for people throughout the country. This budget puts that belief into action.’

28 March 03

Previous Story: Feb 03
The Arts Council of Englandhas announced details of its new funding programmes 2003 – 2004.

The three new schemes will be run from the regional offices, but there is now one phoneline for enquiries: 0845 300 6100 or email

The schemes are:
Grants to individuals: investment for individual artists, residencies, bursaries, arts projects led by individuals such as visual artists, writer or promoters, capital items, and research and development
Grants to organisations: investment for organisations including arts projects and events, capital projects, organisational development, and research and development
Grants for national touring: support for work of all kinds and scales to tour in England.

Gerry Robinson explained that the central belief underpinning the plans was that the arts have the power to transform people’s lives:

_“Our ambition is to place the arts at the heart of national life and we are planning a bold programme of investment to achieve that aim. We want to back new and emerging arts as well as world class arts. The extra £75 million a year by 2005/06 for the arts announced by the Government in its recent spending review will allow us to put substantial funds into a wide range of arts across the country. “ _

“Since 1999 until the end of the current spending round period in 2006, the budget for the arts will have increased by 117 per cent, from £189 million a year to £410 million a year – allowing them to thrive, not just survive. This level of investment provides the arts with a platform for a new era of growth and expansion”
, he said.

From now on artists and arts organisations will find it easier to gain access to Arts Council funds. Over 100 separate application schemes have been replaced with just five ‘Grants for the arts’ – for individuals, organisations, national touring, capital and stabilisation. This is one example of the simplification of the arts funding system made possible by the merger of the Arts Council of England and the Regional Arts Boards.

Gerry Robinson confirmed that he was expecting the merger to save nearly £20 million over the next 3 years, with over £8 million likely to be saved annually from 2005/06 onwards.

The full details of the Council’s spending plans for 2003 – 2006, including grant-in-aid and Lottery funds, and detailed financial allocations to over 1,000 arts organisations across the country, will be announced at the end of March.

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