Cardiff Council proposes to cut arts funding

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Plans to cut Cardiff Council’s grant funding to arts groups by more than £220,000 for 2014/15 have been approved by the local authority’s cabinet.

At a meeting held yesterday, councillors supported a report that proposes arts organisations including Sherman Cymru and Nofit State Circus lose their entire annual grant from next year.

The local authority plans to remove the £161,000 it currently provides to Sherman Cymru and the annual grant of £2,500 to Nofit State Circus.

It is proposed that the cuts take effect from April 2014 and from that point onwards arts organisations will be able to bid for funding for “specific, discrete projects” out of a funding pot totaling around £70,000.

Alison Woods, executive director of Nofit State Circus, said the while the removal of funding would affect its youth circus programming it wouldn’t have an “enormous” impact.

However, she said she was concerned for the vitality of the sector within the city and its ability to sustain itself.

She said: “We regularly collaborate with other organisations and deliver work in partnerships. If any one of these organisations begins to struggle and loses the ability to contribute to those partnerships then the impact on everybody will be very significant indeed.”

A spokeswoman for Arts Council of Wales said: “This is obviously very disappointing news. Given the essential contribution the arts makes to attracting visitors to our capital, the popularity of the arts as well as their importance to Cardiff residents, we urge the council to reconsider the potential impact of such cuts.”

She added: “Arts Council of Wales is requesting an urgent meeting with council representatives to discuss the implications of these proposals.”

Lynda Thorne, cabinet member for communities, housing and social justice, said: “Once again this year, the council will be tasked with making some difficult decisions as we plan ahead in the face of severe budget shortfalls. Whilst the financial outlook appears bleak, this has created an opportunity for the council to review our grant arrangements and examine how we can achieve the best outcomes for our citizens, which is our priority.”

The council will make a final decision on the proposals in February 2014 when it sets its budget for next year. A consultation process is due to be launched first.

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