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Birmingham Rep hit with 62% cut from council

Birmingham Repertory Theatre. Photo: Craig Holmes Birmingham Repertory Theatre. Photo: Craig Holmes
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Birmingham Repertory Theatre is to receive a 62% cut in its funding from the council, meaning it will be operating with nearly £1 million less per year than in 2010.

It comes soon after new figures from the Labour party revealed that £165 million has been cut from local authority arts budgets since 2010, with the West Midlands identified as the worst hit region.

Birmingham Rep has announced that a cut of £325,000 has been proposed by Birmingham City Council for 2017/18, meaning the council’s investment in the venue will be just £200,000 for that year.

The Rep said this was lower than that received by any other comparable theatre in the UK.

The theatre added that the 62% cut meant it is being asked to operate with £900,000 less each year than it had six years ago.

It does receive funding from Arts Council England as a national portfolio organisation, totalling £1.8 million per year as part of the 2015-2018 funding round.

The theatre’s chair, Angela Maxwell, said the organisation recognised the financial challenges being faced by the council, but added: “We are very disappointed that it has again chosen to impose such heavy cuts to the arts and culture sector, unlike most major cities in the UK that recognise the very positive impact on the quality of life and economic success a relatively small investment in culture brings.”

The Rep said it had done all it could to absorb ongoing cuts by diversifying its income streams – it has increased its earned income by 54% since 2010 – but said the latest cut means that the council is now giving the theatre less than it needs to spend on basic overheads and upkeep of the theatre.

Ian Ward, deputy leader of Birmingham City Council, said the authority recognised the role of arts and culture in the city and said the decision to cut the arts further was a regrettable one.

“Like most local authorities, Birmingham faces unprecedented cuts from central government and as a result we must make savings of over £250 million over the next few years – on top of £588 million cuts we have had to make since 2010,” he said.

He added: “The funded organisations have been working hard to seek other support and successfully generating new income and controlling costs. However, this is not at a sufficient rate to counter the necessary reductions in council funding. We regrettably accept that this decision will make life more difficult for the city’s arts charities.”

Ward added that the council would be working with arts organisations to find new ways of supporting the sector.

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