Arts off the hook

20% cut for DCMS, but extra cash for ACE.

Against most expectations, the arts have been spared any further cuts in the Autumn Statement today, and there is to be extra Arts Council cash to boost the creative economy, George Osbolrne announced.

The Arts Council will get a cash terms uplift of £10m a year for each of the next four years, and the government is also to maintain free admission for national museums.

However, DCMS is to get a 5% cut in running costs, 20% overall over the next there years which is to be found from operational economies.

The Chancellor told the Commons that the country's "extraordinary arts, museums, heritage, media and sport" constituted one of the best investments the government gouda make,.. and that every £1 billion a year spent in grants was worth a quarter of a trillion to the economy - not a bad return. So del cuts in the small budget of the Department of Culture, Media and Sport are a false economy"..

There is £150m for new storage for the V&A, British Museum and Science Museum, ands the operational freedom the national museums were given in 2013 is being extended to the BFI, the national services museums Historic England and the Churches Conservation Trust. $40m has been found to boost tourism in England.

Culture secretary John Whttingdale said it was an excellent settlement highlighting "the great contribution of our sectors in creating jobs and helping grow the economy" he said.

"The extra £40m for English tourism will boost visitor numbers in towns and cities, our national museums will remain free to enter and we will continue to preserve our cherished heritage sites for generations."

Arts Council England's chair Sir Peter Bazalgette was overjoyed at the anouncement. "This is an astonishing settlement for arts and culture" he said. "The very strong case made by the Arts Council and the sector, supported by DCMS ministers, for the huge benefit arts and culture deliver to our quality of life, our society and our creative economy has been recognised by the Chancellor.

"This settlement means we can keep up our efforts to ensure everyone, everywhere in England benefits from Arts Council money.  We can continue to invest in children and young people, disadvantaged communities and new talent as well as hundreds of much loved arts and cultural institutions.

"We now need to understand the settlement for local authorities. Our team across the country will be having place by place conversations. We cannot replace their revenue but we'll keep investing where local authorities keep faith with culture."

But there is also caution in other quarters of the cultural sector. John Kampfner, CEO of the Creative Industries Federation, welcomed the strong endorsement of the value of the arts  and creative industries to the economy, and that "funding for the Arts Council and true national museums and galleries appears to have been broadly protected against pre-settlement fears that they would take a massive hit.

"However, we are concerned about the consequences for arts organisations outside London of the deep cuts to local authority budgets" he added. "We call upon national government, local authorities and the arts and creative sector to work more closely to ensure strong arts funding in the regions."

The Art Fund's director, Stephen Deuchar, said today's announcement still meant a real terms reduction of 5-7% with inflation, but welcomed the commitment to free admission for national museums and galleries. "With over 71m visitors to the UK's national and regional museums alone last year, there has never been a greater appetite for art and culture in UK. However, today's statement is just the beginnings it is the forthcoming locals authority settlements that will determine the fate of the majority of the UK's museums and galleries - the hundreds of institutions across the country that are already under-resourced and vulnerable".

Diane Lees, director general of the Imperial war Museums and chair of the National Museum Directors' Conference, added her concern for local authority budgets which still have to be settled: "I hope that they see their museums' value given the central government support for the sector" she said.

Tim Plyming of Nesta said the Chancellor has acknowledged the value of the arts to the UK economy but said the sector would still have fine new sources of finance. "We need too make public money work harder, through efficiencies that come  out of collaboration and the sharing of resources, and leverage in investments from new quarters" he said, adding: "These can never be a replacement for public funding but should lbw complimentary."

Print Email

Patreon message

If you enjoy what we do at Arts Industry and want to show your support, why not become a Patron? A small amount each month will help us keep doing what we do and improve our website.