Arts Development UK are pleased to announce the release of our tenth annual local authority arts spending survey, undertaken to assess the level of arts investment for 2012/13. The survey was undertaken in spring/summer 2013 to assess the level of arts spending forecast for 2013/14 with an online survey sent to all authorities in England and Wales. 73 responses were received, representing 30% of all authorities in England and Wales with an arts service, a comparable response rate to the survey response in 2012. The survey shows continued and significant changes to budgets in local authority arts spending. As of August 2013, 133 local authorities in England and Wales have no dedicated arts officer and have no direct arts service. This represents 35.3% of all authorities in England and Wales. The remaining 64.7% have services that are vulnerable to cuts and like the rest of the local authority cultural sector the majority are operating in reduced financial circumstances.
Jane Wilson, Chair of AD:uk and Director of Arts Development in East Cambridgeshire stated: “The stand-out issue from this year’s survey is the increasing polarisation of provision, as more and more smaller authorities find themselves unable to maintain an arts service. Individual local authorities are making very difficult decisions, in each case with good reason, but the overall effect is having a critical impact on the potential for arts development at a national level. The skills and resources both to develop arts activities and crucially, to draw down other sources of funding, whether from sponsors, charitable giving, or earned income, are being concentrated in tighter and tighter areas, making the aspiration of great art for everyone far harder to achieve.”
The survey has enabled a comparison of past trends and focussed on relevant contemporary issues such as financial issues, priority targets, partnerships and the relationship with other bodies including the Arts Councils in England and Wales. Responses to the 2013 survey reveal a dramatic and changing picture of the arts in local communities.
The 2013 survey shows what is important to arts services currently provided by local authorities:
- Arts services are increasingly important in improving the quality of life for local communities and helping to address social, health and wellbeing issues in local areas
- The downward trend in most areas of activity continues; and although an element of stabilisation in the short-term that occurred in 2012/13 continues, the long term is still expected to bring further budget cuts and changes
- There is a growing need for Arts Services to demonstrate their economic value.
A full version of the report is available here: