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Culture sector is ‘facing a 30% cut’ – Labour

Michael Dugher, the shadow culture secretary. Photo: Michael Dugher's office Michael Dugher, the shadow culture secretary. Photo: Michael Dugher's office
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Labour is predicting a 30% cut to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport in the imminent spending review, warning that such a reduction would “decimate” the arts.

Shadow culture secretary Michael Dugher claimed that cuts in the region of 30% were being mooted ahead of the government review of departmental spending on November 25.

He added that cuts of this level would have a devastating impact on arts and culture and expressed concern that it could spell the end of Arts Council England’s smaller strategic funds.

“Not only would this prevent many people from more disadvantaged backgrounds gaining opportunities that the arts can bring, but it would be counterproductive in terms of our economy too,” Dugher said.

The total planned DCMS departmental spending for 2015-16 is £1.39 billion. A 30% cut would mean DCMS would be left with a budget of just £971 million.

Dugher said that because the government had pledged to keep museums free, the department’s other biggest spending area – arts and culture arm’s-length bodies – would be the worst hit.

“The government still has time to think again before making such a big mistake that will have far-reaching consequences. And raiding the Lottery funds to plug any gap should not be the solution. The additionally principle – that lottery funds should be for new and additional activity and not act as a substitute for grant-in-aid – has already been eroded far too much,” he added.

Earlier this month, Labour claimed that fewer children are participating in arts activities as a result of “years of deep cuts” in arts council and local authority funding.

See full coverage of the spending review at thestage.co.uk from 12.30 on November 25.

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