The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport will receive a 4.1% real-terms increase to its budget in 2020-21, the chancellor of the exchequer announced today in the government’s spending round, which also includes funding intended to drive cultural participation.
Chancellor Sajid Javid proclaimed that his one-year spending review represented the biggest budget increases in 15 years, and, with no government departments receiving a cut over the next year, marked a move from “a decade of recovery to a decade of renewal”.
He did not make a reference to arts and culture in his House of Commons statement on September 4. However, the spending round document from HM Treasury reveals that DCMS’ overall departmental resource budget will increase from £1.5 billion in 2019-20 to £1.6 billion 2020-21.
This will result in a real terms increase of 4.1% when inflation (1.8%) is taken into account.
DCMS’ administration budget will increase from £183 million to £210 million as part of this.
The statement also announced £500 million of funding for Arts Council England and Sport England “to drive participation in cultural and sporting activities”.
How this will be split between the two bodies has not been confirmed.
The Arts Council said it expects its own settlement will increase in line with inflation next year.
“We will continue to make the case to government for the crucial role that arts and culture has in strengthening local economies, in unlocking opportunities for young people and bringing communities together, and as our nation’s calling card across the world,” a spokeswoman said.
Last month, the arts funding body warned that any reduction to its funding from the government in the spending round could mean cuts to previously agreed subsidy, including national portfolio organisation agreements.
Javid’s fast-tracked spending round set the day-to-day budgets only for 2020-2021 rather than the traditional, multi-year review, which will take place next year.
Capital budgets, for longer-term projects and infrastructure, are already in place for 2020-21. DCMS will see a dip in this funding, from £700 million in 2019-20 to £500 million in 2020-21.
Javid’s first spending round comes at a time of political turmoil around Brexit, and was criticised by shadow chancellor John McDonnell, who described it as a “pre-election, panic-driven, Tory stunt”.
The previous spending review, in 2015, saw administrative spending for DCMS cut by 20%, but Arts Council funding received an increase, with additional money allocated for the 2017 Hull City of Culture initiative.