Arts Council England prepares to cut NPOs again next year, but strategic funding will take the hit from 2015/16.
DG Jones via Creative Commons (cc by nc 2.0)
DCMS budget reductions announced in the recent Autumn Statement are to be passed on to Arts Council England (ACE) as a cut to its grant in aid budget of 1.17% in 2014/15 and 1.13% in 2015/16. ACE will be passing the 2014/15 cut on to its National Portfolio Organisations (NPOs) and Major partner museums; but in 2015/16 it will be protecting its core funded organisations and instead be reducing the amount of grant in aid allocated to strategic initiatives that “support the wider development of arts organisations and audiences across the country.” These currently include schemes such as Catalyst, Audience Focus and Creative People and Places, as well as its Strategic Touring Programme. ACE’s budget for strategic funding has grown ten-fold in the past 5 years, from £38k in 2008/9 to £385k last year, but Lottery money has been used to fund an increasing proportion of this, currently over 80%.
Both the 2014/15 and 2015/16 cuts will be in addition to Spending Review cuts previously announced. The 2015/16 cut will be added to the 5% cut to the arts announced in the June 2013 Spending Review; and the 2013/14 cut builds on a 30% Spending Review cut announced in 2010. At that time, then Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt warned ACE that its central government funding could fall still further, with further reductions of up to 5% by 2014/15. Following mid-Review budget cuts announced at the end of 2012, NPO grants were indeed cut again by 1% across the board in 2013/14, and by a further 2% the following year. The new cut just announced will be in addition to these.
Helen Goodman, Shadow Minister for the Arts, spoke out against further cuts to the arts, saying: “It is quite wrong for government to try and sneak out further last minute 1% cuts from Arts Council England just before Christmas… This late salami-slicing makes it impossible for organisations to plan properly.”