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Nottingham County Council is proposing to cut its entire £198k cultural budget, as part of sweeping money saving measures - proposals which have been rejected by Labour councillors.

Equity protestors outside Nottingham Playhouse
Equity says the cuts will not balance Nottingham's budget


Performing arts union Equity staged a demonstration outside Nottingham County Council this week (13 February), in protest at the local authority's proposals to cut its entire cultural budget to help plug a £50m funding deficit for 2024 to 2025. 

The rally was timed to coincide with a meeting of the council's executive board at which members were expected to endorse sweeping budget cuts. However, Labour councillors refused to back the recommendations. 

Labour Council Leader David Mellen said he could not "in all conscience" recommend the proposed budget, which includes savings on youth services, community centres, library services and public transport, with the loss of 554 full-time equivalent jobs.


The council, which issued a Section 114 notice last November, will vote on final budget cuts on 4 March, following discussions with officers about amendments.

The current recommendations include a complete cut of Nottingham's £198k culture budget, including a loss of £60k for National Portfolio Organisation (NPO) Nottingham Playhouse.

Four other organisations, also NPOs, will also lose funding: Nottingham Contemporary, Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature, City Arts and New Art Exchange.

Also affected is Binns Organ Trust, which maintains and operates the organ at the Royal Albert Hall.

Balancing the budget

Equity claims the cut amounts to 0.02% of the council's budget.

"These cuts will put good quality, union jobs at risk. But making the cuts will not balance Nottingham's budget, said Ian Manborde, Equity's Midlands Official.

"Nottingham Playhouse is a social and economic powerhouse in the local and regional economy, providing a significant multiplier effect on the funding from Nottingham City Council.

"We appeal to the council to reverse its decision and support the Playhouse to continue its critically important cultural and social work across the city and beyond."

A headshot of Mary Stone