The State of Arts Funding…

Changing the National Lottery taxation to Gross Profits Tax could release, on estimate, a further £270 million of extra funding.

This is one of the principles of the Liberal Democrat’s arts manifesto ‘The Power of Creativity’.  Alongside this they profess to maintain current levels of investment for the arts and creative industries, heralding it as “good value for money” and to review the Arts Council England’s funding practice with the aim of improving the distribution of funding to greater benefit the regions outside of London.  The manifesto, launched by Shadow Culture, Media and Sport Secretary, Don Foster a few weeks ago, makes for very promising reading, pledging to “raise the status of the arts across national government” for its value and importance to tourism.

Yesterday, The Stage reported that local authorities are warning that the arts face funding cuts of ‘as much as 20%’.  “After the Downturn”, a report written by the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives and the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, states that reductions of between 7.5% and 15% in public spending in 2011-14 are likely, with “unprotected services”, which includes the arts and culture, facing cuts of 20% or more to support the ring-fencing of health and education.  However, as the Conservatives launch their arts manifesto promising “secure, long-term funding for the arts, based on the mixed economy and the arm’s length principle”, they accuse the Labour Party of not giving the arts “the priority they deserve”.  Labour is yet to publish a manifesto outlining their arts and culture priorities.

It occurs to me that the subsidized arts in the UK are too heavily reliant on funding from the National Lottery.  However, in light of these current happenings, I am nonetheless becoming increasingly concerned about the future of arts funding and the National Lottery may indeed be our most secure funding stream for the coming years.

theatreJunki © 2010

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