Arts Council England Announces Details of U.K. Arts Funding Shake-Up

News   Arts Council England Announces Details of U.K. Arts Funding Shake-Up
Following the U.K. Coalition government's declared aim to reduce public spending in all areas in order to reduce budget deficits, the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) that controls public arts funding instructed Arts Council England (ACE) that it would see its grants drop by 29.6 percent over four years, going down from £452 million to £350 million.

ACE has duly done a comprehensive review of all of its existing clients and asked all to re-apply for funding, as well as those seeking funding for the first time. The decision as to who is going to be funded going forward, and to what extent, was announced March 30.

In a summary of the effects of the cuts, the organization has stated that it has reduced grant in aid budget (down 14.9 percent) in the context of wider public sector cuts; made those cuts strategically, with no "equal cuts for all"; and will now be funding 695 organizations instead of the previous 849, including 110 new organizations being brought into the mix. It has also stated that the focus is on "excellent organizations and exceptional individual talent, with decisions shaped by a 10-year vision for the arts," with touring receiving major support with £18 million Lottery a year earmarked for portfolio organizations. It also regretted that good applications were turned down, including 206 existing regularly funded organizations.

The portfolio of funded organizations has been chosen through an open-application process, during which the organization received 1,333 applications and have offered National portfolio funding to 695 organizations.

In a press statement, Alan Davey, Chief Executive of Arts Council England, said, "There have been some really hard choices as we had so many good applications - more than we were able to fund. In advance of the Spending Review, we said 'cut us, don't kill us'. Well, with the help of Lottery income, for which we are grateful, we're alive and kicking. But we do regret that we have been unable to fund perfectly good organizations, and I know this will be taken hard by those affected. After a thorough process, we believe we have achieved a balance of continuity and change, and of local and national. And we've enabled artists and arts organizations to continue to create the great art from which so much springs. This is a collection of decisions that will mean the arts will not retreat from the important part they play in our national life."

Amongst those suffering downturns in their funding, the National Theatre will see a 14.9 percent drop in funding; the Royal Opera House a 15 percent drop; the Almeida a 39 percent drop and the Donmar Warehouse 11 percent.

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