Arts & Business (A&B) is to lose all of its funding from Arts Council England by 2012/13, and suffer a 50% cut in 2011/12. A&B, which received £3.84m from ACE this year will receive only £1.9m in the coming financial year. The work of A&B will be taken on by ACE, which will “redirect some of our future resource to developing a challenge fund to incentivise donors and build the fundraising capacity of arts organisations.” A&B will be given a transitional budget to enable it to plan its future operating structure. Responding to the news, Colin Tweedy, Chief Executive of A&B, said, “This is an extraordinary and potentially damaging decision… [it] does not fit comfortably with the Government’s vision of the Big Society… our private sector partners believe that ACE has dismantled our public realm work – to little purpose and with even less of a plan. In effect our work is to be nationalised by a quango.”
Creativity, Culture and Education (CCE) is also to have its funding halved, from £38.1m to £19.1m in 2011/12. ACE states that “children and young people remain an absolute priority”, but Paul Collard, Chief Executive of CCE, said: “the significant reduction in funding to our organisation and the end of programmes such as Creative Partnerships and Find Your Talent will leave many young people in some of the most disadvantaged communities without access to the arts. Once these are gone there is no turning back the clock and the impact of this on the next generation is not something that can be fixed once public finances are restored.”
There was better news for regularly funded organisations (RFOs), who will have their funding cut by 6.9% next year, amounting to a real terms cut of around 9%. This is less than they had been expecting, having been asked to model for cuts of 10%. However, ACE has had to frontload the cuts, and will be making around 80% of the savings required by Government in the first two years of the four year funding cycle. A 14.9% real-terms cut to RFOs will be made by 2014/15. Furthermore, all organisations which are currently funded by ACE will have to reapply for funding from April 2012, and demonstrate that they meet specific strategic criteria.
ACE’s current budget for strategic opportunities, which supports work such as touring, the Cultural Leadership Programme and the Cultural Olympiad, will be reduced by £21m (64%) next year. An announcement about exactly how these savings will be made is expected by the end of the year. In the future, ACE “will be asking its funded organisations to take on more responsibility for furthering its strategic goals, particularly in the areas of touring and audience development.” Jeremy Hunt’s letter to ACE’s Chair, Dame Liz Forgan, specifically mentions that the Cultural Leadership Programme, needs to evolve into a broader “organisational development resource for culture and the creative industries” which needs to “deliver better value for money and have more impact” in the arts sector and beyond, with a specific focus on developing fundraising capacity.
Full details of the new funding arrangements will be announced on 4 November.