Brum cuts Arts by 25%

Birmingham Council is to cut its support for the arts by 25%, the council has decided.

The reduction in grant funding will take the city’s subsidy to arts organisations from £6.425 million per year to £4.85 million from March 2016.

It is the third major reduction in arts subsidies, following a 17 per cent cut in 2010 and a further 20 per cent cut two years ago . Organisations hit by the cuts include the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Performances Birmingham – which runs the Town Hall and Symphony Hall – the Birmingham Rep, Ikon art gallery and the Drum at Aston.

Labour cabinet member for culture Cllr Penny Holbrook said: “This is not something we want to do but the financial position of the council is clear to everybody.

The news is particularly unwelcome as Birmingham city council has previously claimed that a well supported arts and culture sector  is vital to Birmingham’s status as a global city and one of the factors which generate investment and brings visitors to the city.

Coun Holbrook added that they would be supported as far as possible. “Arts are essential, not just for the local economy but also for the soul,” she said.

Some councillors have suggested that Birmingham could seek more regional arts funding from government, through either the combined authority or Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership.

Also being supported is the Birmingham Arts Partnership, which represents 14 arts and culture organisations, works with the city council and Arts Council to secure funding.

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