NI Arts cuts reversed

ACNI gets funding boost.

Ministers have reversed plans to make in-year cuts in arts spending in Northern Ireland.

Arts organisations will no longer be subjected to £620,000 worth of cuts announced last month.  A reallocation of funds has boosted the budget of the Department for Culture, Arts and Leisure, which funds the Arts Council Northern Ireland (ACNI).

This means that ACNI can cancel cuts it was planning to pass on to more than 30 companies including Belfast’s  Lyric Theatre and the MAC arts centre, each of which stood to lose £68,000.

In a statement, the arts council, whose budget was cut by 11% (equivalent to £1.38 million) in March, said it welcomed the news “that £620,000 will be allocated to reinstate grants to the 32 organisations affected by earlier in-year cuts.”

It added: “There will be a sense of relief shared by those affected by the announcement.”

The news came before the Chancellor’s own statement on funding for the Northern Ireland government.

Campaign body Arts Matters NI, which organised a public rally protesting against the cuts earlier this month, said: “Good news as it is, this reinstatement of funds is only the start of the investment required. The arts sector in Northern Ireland has long been underfunded and has been affected disproportionately in recent waves of budget cuts.”

Arts spending in the region, equivalent to just over 10p per person each year, is the lowest in the UK and Ireland.

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