News: Government arts funding frozen

Wednesday 15 December 2004

The Department for Culture Media and Sport has announced a freeze in arts funding for the next three years, which amounts to a cut of £30 million in real terms. .

‘The arts are expected to have fared particularly badly when the settlements for sport, tourism and film are revealed in days to come.’ Read more in the Independent.

Museums and galleries will receive an increase in funding – but this is widely seen to be at the expense of the performing arts. Equity general secretary Ian McGarry said “I am appalled at this breach of faith. Three years ago we got what we thought was a commitment from this government that they valued the performing arts and would bring to an end the bad old days of hand-to-mouth funding that barely kept theatre alive…” read more in the Stage.

The increased funding for museums and galleries, heralded by the DCMS as “a record uplift”, turn out to be ‘modest increases for some, bare cost of living increases for others, and a 5% cut for English Heritage. Mark Taylor, director of the Museums Association, called the claim of a record increase in funding “smoke and mirrors” ‘ Read more in the Guardian.

Peter Hewitt, Arts Council England Chief Executive, said that ‘the cuts would have a noticeable effect on arts projects. “We have a choice between supporting mainstream arts organisations and ignoring new and more diverse projects, or vice versa,” he said. “What is the point of giving £5 million one spending round and taking away £34 million the next? How are we supposed to plan for a stable future?” read more in the Times.

One London arts venue emerged as a winner in the spending review. The South Bank Centre was awarded a one off grant of £5 million towards its refurbishment.

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