More than 100 smaller organisations are likely to lose their Arts Council funding. The announcement follows the government’s decision to slash funding for the arts by 29.6% as part of the comprehensive spending review. Tate,V&A, British Museum, ICA, National Gallery as well as the The Royal Opera House and Royal Ballet are among the organisations supported by Arts Council England. Arts Council England currently distributes cash to about 850 groups. They want to make recipients more accountable and open up the process to new organisations.
The Arts Council’s decision to make equal cuts to all, is meant to give organisations a “quick and fair decision” and allow a “degree of relative stability in a very challenging economic climate. In the context of the large cuts to local authority budgets, laid out in the spending review, all of the arts organisations financed by Arts Council England will experience an overall budget cut of 14.9% over a four-year period. Arts funding bodies in the rest of the UK are developing their own plans. Arts Council England has announced that budgets for all of the major organisations it supports will be cut by 6.9% next year. The council’s current annual grant of £449m is dropping to £349m by 2014 as a result of the Spending Review. This figure has been achieved by bringing in even larger reductions in financing for Arts Council-funded organisations that do not prioritise arts creations or performance, including development funds that support the cultural leadership programme and the cultural Olympiad. Under the plans, to be outlined later by the council’s head, Dame Liz Forgan,the chair of the Arts Council, stated, organisations will be required to make a case for public funding. The applications will be renewed every few years. Forgan also made clear: “These are severe cuts, made worse by the fact that around 80% of them have to come in the first two years of the settlement.
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