Arts Council England hit by £19 million of in-year cuts

Arts Council England has been hit with £19 million of in-year cuts under Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne’s £6.2 billion savings drive.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport was asked to make v88 million of savings – of which £27 million will come from the Olympics budget. A 3% cut will be made to the DCMS’ core budget, while a 3% cut will also be passed on to all bodies within the DCMS sector.

However, ACE is being hit with an additional £5 million of cuts – raising the total it is being asked to cut to £19 million.

These savings will have to be made to the already allocated budget for 2010/11.

But, according to a statement by DCMS, it is “discussing with ACE the use of historic reserves that it has been hitherto unable to access, which may allow extra spending this year to mitigate the overall reduction to the arts sector”.

“I have been clear that all parts of DCMS’s areas would need to play their part in meeting the challenge of reducing the deficit,” said culture secretary Jeremy Hunt. “I have asked our bodies to make these savings while protecting frontline services wherever possible, and without interrupting the Olympic programme.

“I understand that this will involve some difficult decisions, but the reality is that we face an incredibly tough public spending environment. Putting the economy back on its feet and restoring the nation’s finances are in the interests of all our sectors, particularly the arts and culture sectors which receive significant amounts of private finance.”

He added: “I will be doing all I can to help our sectors through the next few difficult years, and want to do all I can to ensure that never again are our sectors as vulnerable to sudden booms and busts in public funding.

“I have already announced a change in the Lottery shares to give more money to arts, sports and heritage, and as we implement this it will increase the income for these sectors. I am also looking to see how and where we can boost other sources of income to the sectors and make fundraising easier.”

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The Orange Tree Theatre in Richmond, London. Photo: Noel Foster