Charities feature among more than 200 bodies losing Arts Council England funding

Decisions follow 30 per cent cut in council's 'grant in aid' budget for 2011 to 2015

Arts Council England
Arts Council England

Arts Council England has axed 206 bodies from its portfolio of regularly funded organisations, most of which are charities.

The Arts Council made the cuts after the government reduced its ‘grant in aid’ budget for 2011 to 2015 by 30 per cent. The council uses the money to support the organisations it regularly funds.

The amount given out to organisations under the regularly funded portfolio in 2010/11 was £350.3m, but this will be reduced to £327.5m a year by 2014/15 – a cut of 6.5 per cent. The Arts Council said this was a reduction of about 15 per cent in real terms.

All of the 849 currently funded organisations will receive funding for 2011/12, but 206 will no longer be regularly funded from 2012 onwards.

The new portfolio of funded organisations – which will come into operation in 2012 – consists of 695 bodies, 110 of which are organisations that were not previously regularly funded.

An Arts Council statement said it had aimed to protect "risk-taking and innovative organisations" such as the Manchester International Festival, as well as flagship organisations such as the National Theatre.

The statement said the council had also tried to preserve "the backbone of regional theatre, iconic new modern and contemporary art galleries in the regions, symphony orchestras, poetry and new writers".

Between 80 and 85 per cent of the organisations regularly funded by the Arts Council are charities.

The Suffolk-based charity The Poetry Trust was one of those to be told it will no longer receive regular funding from the Arts Council. The trust has received about £50,000 a year from the council since 2003 – in some years, this amounted to about 50 per cent of its funding.

Naomi Jaffa, director of The Poetry Trust, said that there were no immediate implications for the organisation’s full-time-equivalent staff, but a "radical rethink" about how the trust operated in the longer term would be required.

Dame Liz Forgan, chair of Arts Council England, said: "We have taken the brave path of strategic choices, not salami slices, which has meant some painful decisions, and it is with great regret that we have had to cease funding some good organisations."

Andrew Smaje, chief executive of Hull Truck Theatre, one of the charities that will continue to receive regular Arts Council funding, said: "While today’s announcement is positive for Hull Truck, other arts organisations in our region and around the country will be receiving less good news. We join their concern that these cuts will impact significantly on the nation’s creative life."

The Blackpool Grand Theatre is one of the charities to be added to the national portfolio of organisations and will receive about £120,000 a year between 2012 and 2015.

Neil Thomson, its chief executive, said the funding "will allow us to broaden our artistic programming and plan ahead with a greater degree of confidence in this genre".

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