Corporate giving to culture fell for the fourth year in a row in 2010/11, according to figures published today by Arts & Business, a charity that promotes links between commerce and culture.
The figures show that total private donations to culture grew in total by 4 per cent in 2010/11 to £686m, a figure that does not take inflation into account.
Giving from trusts and foundations rose by 10 per cent to £170.3m and individual donations increased by 6 per cent to £382.2m.
But investment from business fell by 7 per cent to £134.2m, despite the fact that the government named 2011 as the year of corporate philanthropy. The amount given by businesses to culture was lower in 2010/11 than it was in 2004/05, after being adjusted for inflation.
With overall donations higher, Jeremy Hunt, the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport, said the figures confounded critics who said it was a waste of time trying to boost philanthropic giving when times were tough.
"It is also a real tribute to the determination of the cultural sector to boost its fundraising and strengthen the financial resilience of arts organisations," he said. "We now just need to keep going – particularly exploring the opportunity of legacy giving for which a new tax break comes into force this April."
Dan Jarvis, shadow culture minister, said: "The government promised that cuts in public funding for the arts would be replaced by philanthropists’ generous donations across the country. We can see that this simply hasn’t happened.
"While private giving has increased by £28.5m in 2011, the public funding to Arts Council England was cut by £71m. This is deeply worrying for the long-term sustainability of the arts sector."