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£124m local funding cuts to culture acknowledged by DCLG

DCLGLocal authority support for culture is falling by a further £124 million in 2013/14, according to figures published by the Department for Communities and Local Government. DCLG has just published the budgeted expenditure for local authorities in 2013/14. The figures reveal that while the overall spend by local authorities actually increases slightly from 2012/13 to 2013/14 – from £98.4 billion to £102.2 billion – spending on culture will fall. In fact, its cut of 4.2% (from £2.9 billion to £2.8 billion) is the largest percentage cut to any sector at local government level.

David Brownlee, Executive Director of the Theatrical Management Association, said: “Because of the way cuts were ‘frontloaded’ to local government at the last comprehensive spending review in 2010, we knew there would be major pressures on local authorities’ cultural budgets in 2011/12 and 2012/13. This year should have heralded a brief respite before the next wave of recently announced cuts, but instead, authorities in England are planning on average a further 4.2% reduction in their investment in culture. These cuts are more than any other service area and show clearly that national reductions in funding to local government are disproportionately impacting on support for high quality arts, libraries, parks and leisure facilities. If people value these services, they must make their voices heard to local decision makers.”

The budgeted local cuts come on top of reductions to central government support for the arts. Arts Council England’s grant-in-aid funding fell by £15 million from 2012/13, while exchequer funding for the arts has also fallen in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Meanwhile, ACE’s exchequer funding is due to fall by a further £9 million in 2014/15 with another 5% to be cut in 2015/16.

(Source: The Stage)