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Bristol council slashes arts by £380k

Bristol, which will have £380,000 of its arts budget cut by the city council. Photo: Sion Hannuna/Shutterstock
Bristol, which will have £380,000 of its arts budget cut by the city council. Photo: Sion Hannuna/Shutterstock
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Bristol City Council has approved £380,000 worth of cuts to its arts budget by 2022.

In a meeting on February 22, proposals to cut £190,000 in 2018/19 and another £190,000 in 2021/22 were agreed.

The cuts come after it was announced that small project grants to arts organisations in Bath are to be phased out completely by the local council.

Actors including Timothy West and Tony Robinson have hit out at the “savage” cuts to arts budgets in the South West, with Equity labelling them “cultural vandalism”.

Bristol City Council currently provides about £1 million per year to arts providers following a bidding process.

The council initially proposed to halve this, but “having listened to feedback will now only remove £380,000”.

Bristol Old Vic is currently awarded £288,640 in annual funding and Tobacco Factory Theatres receives £40,000 a year.

The city council has labelled the new financial plan as a “corrective” budget that will allow it to take control of its finances.

Marvin Rees, mayor of Bristol, said: “It’s about taking back control of the council’s finances and making some of the tough but necessary choices that have been avoided in the past.

“We all know there’s no realistic way to make over £100 million of savings without some pain, but I think we’ve done a good job understanding the impact and thinking about how we minimise it.

“These are hard times but we're focusing our limited resources on making Bristol a more equal and inclusive place where no one is left behind.

“This is not easy work and doesn’t sit comfortably with making savings, but where there are tough choices to make we’ll continue to do the best we can.”

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