Government funding for the arts is down by 21 per cent, says report

Inflation-adjusted contributions from the Treasury are down, but independent grants are up, according to research by the National Campaign for the Arts

Arts: funding down
Arts: funding down

Government funding for the arts in England has fallen by 21 per cent over the past three years, according to the latest figures compiled by the National Campaign for the Arts.  

The NCA, which campaigns to protect and promote the arts in the UK, produced its report, published yesterday, based on 20 indicators – such as investment and audience size – that measure the state of the arts sector.

The report says that after three years of remaining constant, inflation-adjusted Treasury funding for the arts fell from £8.24 per capita in 2009/10 to £6.49 in 2011/12.

The report contains "both heartening and worrying developments", the NCA says.

It shows that local government funding for the arts fell by 16 per cent over the past three years to £7.53 per person in 2011/12, and the contribution from businesses was down 11 per cent to £1.88 per person over the same period.

But this was partially offset by substantial increases in grants from trusts and foundations, which were up by 18 per cent, and lottery funding, which grew by 17 per cent, the index shows.

Participation in the arts was also up by 7 per cent, according to the report.

The report points out that local government funding cuts have been greater than the savings local authorities have been asked to make.

The report adds that, since the end of the Olympics, the government has refocused money from the National Lottery’s good causes and investment in the arts from the lottery has increased.

This increase is to some extent making up for the shortfall in local and central government grants, the report says, but raises concerns that with the reduction in government funding it is affecting the additionality principle. "Lottery funding is no longer icing; it’s cake," it concludes.

"The NCA believes that public money brings public accountability and public benefit. A publicly funded theatre (for instance) belongs to its audience. Lottery funding can threaten the connection with, and pride in, an arts organisation that local people support through their local authority," the report says.

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