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Arts Council England claims annual £10m government boost equals 5% cut

George Osborne. Photo: HM Treasury
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Arts Council England has revealed it will receive an extra £10 million annually over the next four years, but that this will effectively be a 5% cut in government funding.

This comes hours after chancellor George Osborne claimed in his spending review that he would increase ACE funding, because arts were “one of the best investments we can make”.

Despite the overall 5% real terms reduction, ACE said it had received a better settlement than several other government departments.

The council also confirmed it would still be able to continue to fund its 663 national portfolio organisations until 2018.

Welcoming the news, ACE chair Peter Bazalgette said Osborne had granted “an astonishing settlement for arts and culture”.

He added that the chancellor had recognised the value of arts and culture thanks to the “very strong case” made by the arts council and the sector for continued funding.

Bazalgette continued: “This settlement means we can keep up our efforts to ensure everyone, everywhere in England benefits from arts council money. We can continue to invest in children and young people, disadvantaged communities and new talent as well as hundreds of much loved arts and cultural institutions.”

He added: ”We now need to understand the settlement for local authorities. Our team across the country will be having place by place conversations. We cannot replace their revenue but we’ll keep investing where local authorities keep faith with culture.”

When he announced the government’s spending plans for the next four years, Osborne said he would increase the funding given to the arts council.

However, he did not specify in his speech how big the increase would be. The spending review document published by the government also failed to specify an increase – instead referring to arts funding being “protected” and “maintained”.

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