William Eichler 08 September 2020

Government should provide £500m arts resilience fund, says study

The Government should devolve power over arts funding to councils and make a resilience fund available to support art and culture in local areas, report says.

A new report published by the Fabian Society argues that a decade of Government cuts has led to a crisis in arts and culture funding and left the creative sector vulnerable to the lockdown.

It also calls for the devolution of power and funding over the arts so that councils and mayors can repair the damage caused by austerity and the pandemic.

Between 2009/10 and 2018/19, more than £860m in real terms was cut from annual council spending on arts and culture – a reduction of £18.66 per person. Local spending is now 38.5% lower, at just under £1.4bn per year.

Cuts were proportionately worse in the West Midlands (44.6%), East of England (41.5%), North East (39.6%), South West (38.9%) and the North West (38.9%), while in London the cut was 38.6%.

The Fabian Society is urging the Government to provide a five-year funding settlement for local government, plus an additional £500m arts future resilience fund.

They also called for responsibility over the final £258m worth of arts and culture grants to be devolved to local government working in partnership with Arts Council England.

The Government should provide £500m in capital expenditure grants to allow councils to purchase empty high street assets across England and allow them to be used to provide affordable rental spaces to arts and culture organisations.

Image: Lenush / Shutterstock.com.

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