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Mac Birmingham hit by record 70% council funding cut

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Contemporary arts centre Mac Birmingham has been hit by a 70% cut to its council funding, as part of major reductions inflicted on the city’s arts by its local authority.

Mac is facing an unprecedented cut of £280,000 in 2017/18, taking the amount it receives from Birmingham City Council from £400,000 to £120,000 per year.

It had already been dealt a drop in funding of £140,000 between 2015/16 to 2016/17.

The cut is part of a range of arts funding reductions announced by the council, which will also see Birmingham Repertory Theatre’s grant reduced by 62%.

This cut was announced by the Rep before Christmas while in its proposal stages, however cuts to both organisations have now been confirmed.

In addition to its artistic output, Mac runs around 1,300 creative courses each year. A statement announcing the cuts said its funding – which it also receives from Arts Council England – was essential in keeping ticket prices low, offering free exhibitions and continuing its training courses when other adult education providers are closing.

Mac’s chief executive and artistic director Deborah Kermode said the organisation appreciated the financial difficulties faced by the council but added: “As an organisation of real importance to our community we aim to stay true to our ethos – to provide arts for all. However, a cut of this magnitude will be felt and as a result we will need to review our current services and partnerships moving forward.”

Late last year, new figures published by 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 City Council said it understood the role of arts and culture in the city and that it regretted having to make the decision.

“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,” Ian Ward, deputy leader of the council, said.

He added that the council would be working with organisations to find new ways of supporting and nurturing the sector.

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