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DCMS warned to prepare for 40% budget cut

The What Next? initiative aims to make MPs more aware of the benefits of cultural investment. Photo: HM Treasury The What Next? initiative aims to make MPs more aware of the benefits of cultural investment. Photo: HM Treasury
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Arts funding faces dramatic cuts after the Department for Culture, Media and Sport was told to prepare for a budget reduction of up to 40%.

Chancellor George Osborne announced that in order to make £20 billion of government savings, unprotected departments – everything aside from health, schools, defence and foreign aid – needed to plan for two scenarios: a 25% cut or a 40% cut. Savings would have to be made over the course of the next five years.

In a report entitled ‘A country that lives within its means’, the Treasury said it would prioritise spending that achieves the best economic returns, as well as that which promotes innovation, growth, productivity and competition.

In addition, it said departments would be asked to look at how they can be managed more effectively, and should consider privatising assets that “do not need to be held in the public sector”.

In the 2010 spending review, Arts Council England was hit with a 30% cut to its budget – which saw grant-in-aid funding fall from £449 million to £349 million – and received a further 5% cut in the 2013 review.

Any further cuts to the DCMS budget will be announced on November 25 as part of the autumn spending review.

The DCMS declined to comment.

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