Laura Sharman 13 April 2016

Councils cutting arts and culture budgets by nearly a fifth, finds report

Investment in arts and culture by local authorities has fallen by £236m since 2010, a new report has revealed today.

Funding Arts and Culture in an Age of Austerity, published by the Arts Council, shows that while councils in England are still the biggest investors at £1.2bn a year, funding was still cut by 17% with further cuts expected to come.

The report shows that London boroughs saw the largest cuts to arts and culture spending at 19% between 2010 and 2015.

Chair of the Arts Council, Sir Peter Bazalgette, urged local authorities to ‘keep faith’ with arts and culture and find new ways of sustaining services.

Speaking at the New Local Government Network Hub, he pointed to Kent County Council which is encouraging applicants for multi-million waste contracts to consider how they can support arts and culture to deliver social value.

Sir Bazalgette said: “When you add up the annual, national and local government spend on arts, museums and libraries, it comes to £3bn. This is, of course, a substantial investment. But, as we’ve seen, the bit that’s really looking challenged is the contirbution of local authorities.

’While the Arts Council cannot change the economics of local government or bridge the funding gaps, we can, as a national development agency, use our own relationships to broker new partnerships. We can focus specific funding on particular areas of need; we can invest in the best ideas.’

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