• Share on Facebook
  • Share on Facebook
  • Share on Linkedin
  • Share by email
  • Share on Facebook
  • Share on Facebook
  • Share on Linkedin
  • Share by email

Chief Executive of Arts Council of Wales, Dafydd Rhys, says the organisation has been forced to make "extremely difficult decisions” following a 10.5% budget cut from the Welsh government.

Arts Council of Wales at Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff, Wales.

Seth Whales

Employees at Arts Council Wales (ACW) face an uncertain future as the organisation has revealed it is in consultation with staff over voluntary redundancies with further cuts “inevitable” as it seeks to cut its operational costs.

The funding body will also reduce its conditional multi-year funding offers by 2.5% equally across all its 81 supported organisations following a proposed 10.5 % drop in cultural spending announced by the Welsh government in December.

“The financial situation facing the arts in Wales is challenging,” said Dafydd Rhys, Chief Executive of the Arts Council of Wales. A 10.5% cut to our budget for next year, coupled with the effects of inflation, means that the Arts Council has to make extremely difficult decisions.”


Rhys said ACW decided against passing the entire burden of the funding gap onto its supported organisations as “the sector has already suffered a real-term cut due to the effects of the cost of living crisis and is still struggling following the effects of the pandemic. 

“We strongly believe that to pass on a further 10.5% cut would have been an unrealistic option that would have severely damaged the sector’s ability to deliver against our principles and strategic priorities. 

“We will engage with each of these organisations to discuss the implications of this decision further.

“As an organisation, we have consulted with the trade union Unite and have agreed on a redundancy policy that was also endorsed by a members’ vote. We are, therefore, currently consulting with our staff on voluntary redundancies, but it’s inevitable that we’ll have to consider further cuts to our own operational costs.”

A 'mature, national debate'

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Front Row programme in January, Rhys called for a “mature, national debate” on the value of the arts.

He later added: “A society invests in what it values. If we value the arts here in Wales and the benefit they bring to all of us, then we need to seriously consider whether or not we’re happy with a situation where arts investment is being reduced again after a decade of real-term cuts.”

ACW was due to receive around £33.9m for the 2024/25 period but was instead allocated £30.4m by government, a figure the funding body said was “the lowest since 2007/08".

The draft Welsh budget has yet to be voted on, but the government explained that because of “protections” afforded to employability and skills, it had to “take the difficult decision” to reprioritise £16m of funding away from culture, sport and tourism, as well as £2m from Cadw, which works to protect historic buildings, landscapes and heritage sites in Wales.

Assessing the effect of the cuts, the government acknowledged that they would likely impact expenditures linked to life-long learning, interpretation, volunteering and public programmes.

The draft budget states: “This will also impact individual and community participation and engagement with culture and the arts and will impact engagement with children and young people.

“In considering how to meet inflationary pressures, culture bodies will need to explore other sources of income.”

A headshot of Mary Stone