Laura Sharman 04 February 2022

Council spending on the arts has halved since 2010

Council spending on the arts has halved since 2010 image
Image: Tyler Olson /

Local authority expenditure on cultural services has fallen by 50% across England since 2009-2010, according to new research.

The Public Campaign for the Arts found spending on public libraries, entertainment venues, museums, galleries and recreation facilities by councils has dropped to £59.90 per person per year, from £118.93 just over a decade ago.

The research has been published after the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead announced it is planning to cut arts funding by 100%. If approved, this would mean £0 was allocated to the arts for the first time in living memory.

Former prime minister Theresa May has joined calls urging councillors to ‘reconsider their position'.

Figures show that in 2009-10, the council was spending £131.75 per person per year for cultural services, but this had fallen by 69% to just £41.42 last year.

Cllr Andrew Johnson, the council leader, said: 'While the borough overall is an affluent area, we have among the very lowest council tax in England outside of London, which places financial pressure on the council, especially with respect to areas of discretionary, non-statutory spend. There are also cost pressures in adults and children’s services.'

Cllr Johnson added that the council ran a consultation on the 2022/23 budget that closed on Monday 31 January and all feedback will be considered before a final decision is made.

Jack Gamble, director of the Public Campaign for the Arts, said: ‘The arts are not a luxury – they provide vital benefits to our lives and communities. We appreciate the financial pressures that local councils are under, partly due to cuts from national government since 2010, but sacrificing our cultural services is not the answer.

’We have to find a way to keep funding them alongside other services – it shouldn’t be an either/or.’

For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Marketing and Recruitment Officer (Adoption)

Bolton Council
You will be passionate about promoting adoption to attract prospective adopters. Bolton, Greater Manchester
Recuriter: Bolton Council

Assistant ICT Solutions Partner

Bolton Council
At Bolton Council we have an excellent opportunity for someone to join the team. Bolton, Greater Manchester
Recuriter: Bolton Council

Head of Technology

Bolton Council
Are you a senior ICT professional looking to make your next career move. Bolton, Greater Manchester
Recuriter: Bolton Council

Senior Business Change Officer

South Derbyshire District Council
£28,226 - £30,984
A fantastic opportunity to join an ambitious and transforming Council. Swadlincote, Derbyshire
Recuriter: South Derbyshire District Council

Service Director - Community Development

South Gloucestershire Council
Recuriter: South Gloucestershire Council

Partner Content

Circular highways is a necessity not an aspiration – and it’s within our grasp

Shell is helping power the journey towards a circular paving industry with Shell Bitumen LT R, a new product for roads that uses plastics destined for landfill as part of the additives to make the bitumen.

Support from Effective Energy Group for Local Authorities to Deliver £430m Sustainable Warmth Funded Energy Efficiency Projects

Effective Energy Group is now offering its support to the 40 Local Authorities who have received a share of the £430m to deliver their projects on the ground by surveying properties and installing measures.

Pay.UK – the next step in Bacs’ evolution

Dougie Belmore explains how one of the main interfaces between you and Bacs is about to change.