Cuts ahoy! (ctd.)

June 17 2013

We don't yet know the exact figures, but here in the UK, the Department for Culture is briefing as 'a victory' a cut of 8% to their budget. It's certainly true that things could have been a lot worse, and with increased funding from the National Lottery*, arts and heritage bodies in the UK look to be reasonably well protected. From the Museums Association website:

"The Treasury and the chancellor have listened very carefully to a case given with great vim and passion.

“5% is a real result within the DCMS overall cut. It's still of course going to require some tough decisions, but it is a good result for the arts council and the DCMS in the way that they have put the case."

The arts council was asked to model cuts of 5%, 10% and 15%. An ACE spokeswoman said that the model was “very crude, and not definite”, but a 5% cut might reduce the number of organisations in receipt of grant-in-aid from over 700 to around 400-450.

Mark Taylor, director of the Museums Association, said: “This cut, on top of the previous ones, pushes some national museums in England close to the tipping point where large areas of their work will have to be abandoned and facilities closed down.

“It will also impact on Renaissance funding and may reduce the number of Major Partner museums.”

The announcement follows cuts in 2010 to DCMS' core budget from £1.4bn to £1.1bn and cuts of 50% to its administration, then a further £34m in cuts to its core budget in December last year.

Meanwhile, in Scotland, the Scottish National Party's Culture Minister Fiona Hyslop has given her response to Maria Miller's argument that the arts should be seen primarily as an economic commodity:

Recently, the Culture Secretary for the UK Government set out a different approach to culture and asked the culture sector to help her make the arguments about the economic impact of culture in the context of economic growth.

I don’t agree. That is not the future I choose.

The Scottish Government already accepts the case for the role of government in supporting the cultural sector. We actively support the case for public subsidy of the arts. We understand that culture and heritage have a value in and of themselves.

* Regular readers will not be surprised to hear me claim part copyright for this policy!

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