Organisations including Arts Council Wales, National Museums of Wales and Cadw are all facing reduced funding under the Welsh government's latest budget proposals.
Seth Whales via Wikicommons
The Welsh government has revealed that it will reduce funding to Arts Council Wales by 10.5% next year, suggesting culture bodies need to "explore other sources of income".
Officials announced wide-ranging cuts in the Labour-led government's £23bn budget for 2024/25, acknowledging that “Ministers have had to take some very tough choices” prioritising frontline services, including councils and the NHS.
ACW was due to receive around £33.9m for the 2024/25 period but has instead been allocated £30.4m, a figure the funding body says is “the lowest since 2007/08”.
National Museums of Wales has also been handed a cut of £3m, while support for local culture and sport drops by £1.9m.
Jack Gamble, Director of the Campaign for the Arts, said the cuts were "a real blow to artists and arts organisations in Wales" and that the impacts would be "widely felt".
Other sources of income
The draft budget, which has yet to be voted on, explained that because of “protections” afforded to employability and skills, the government 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 there would likely be an impact on expenditure linked to life-long learning, interpretation, volunteering and public programmes.
The 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.”
The government said it would “consider options” to mitigate against the impact of the culture and heritage cuts on people with protected characteristics.
'Difficult fiscal times'
Responding to the Welsh Government budget, Arts Council of Wales CEO Dafydd Rhys said the “significant new cut” would make it “even more challenging to ensure that high-quality arts activity is available across Wales for all of our communities.
“The invaluable work that we support in arts and health, education, the Welsh language and our work in widening engagement will be affected - all of which are government priorities."
He said ACW would need to "look at all of our costs" and "prioritise the available funds".
"Whilst one accepts that these are extremely difficult fiscal times for the government, we also need to consider as a nation what we believe to be the right level of funding for the arts and the communities we serve throughout Wales,” he added.