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Arts Council England responds to a £19 million reduction in funding from DCMS

24 May 2010

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Statement from Dame Liz Forgan, Chair of Arts Council England:

"We all knew this year would be tough.   We do not understand why we have received a higher percentage cut than other DCMS funded bodies. 

“Making cuts within the financial year is very difficult.  We will now need to carefully assess what this figure of £19m means.  The Arts Council has already trimmed its own budgets by £4 million in 2010/11 so this takes our total reduction this year to £23 million.

“We will do our utmost to minimise the impact on the frontline but we cannot guarantee that there will be no effect.   Only £23m (5%) of our overall grant-in-aid budget goes on running costs so the vast bulk of our income goes straight to art.  It would therefore be impossible to meet a cut of this size from running costs alone. Use of our historic reserves, which the Department has not allowed us to use to date, will have to be agreed with our Trustees and the Charity Commission and their use will need to be in the best interests of the arts. 

“What is most important is that we do our best to protect art and artists and that we get our decisions out as quickly as possible to give our organisations a chance to plan.  We have a tough Spending Review ahead so we need to work closely with our Ministers and our arts organisations to make the best possible case.”

Notes to editors

Arts Council England works to get great art to everyone by championing, developing and investing in artistic experiences that enrich people’s lives.

As the national development agency for the arts, we support a range of artistic activities from theatre to music, literature to dance, photography to digital art, and carnival to crafts.

Great art inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves, and the world around us. In short, it makes life better.

Between 2008 and 2011, we will invest £1.3 billion of public money from government and a further £0.3 billion from the National Lottery to create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country.

www.artscouncil.org.uk