30 Mar 2011

Arts Council spending cuts: the losers (and winners)

As hundreds of theatres, dance and arts groups lose their funding, Channel 4 News maps the organisations hit by the Arts Council’s “painful decisions”. There are some winners too.

Graphic: arts cuts winners and losers.

Around 1,300 theatres, galleries and arts groups applied for funding under the new regime imposed after the Government spending review cut Arts Council England‘s (ACE) annual grant.

In total, 695 organisations have been successful in their applications for funding from 2012 to 2015, including 110 new groups. But that is down on the 849 organisations funded before now. One of the biggest losers is the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) in London which faces a cut of 42.5 per cent.

We have taken the brave path of strategic choices not salami slices which has meant some painful decisions. Dame Liz Forgan

Chairwoman Dame Liz Forgan has described the process as a series of “painful decisions”.

She said: “This is about a resilient future for the arts in England. 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 to cease funding some good organisations.”

Seen a cut? Add it to our #c4cuts map: Cutsmap – show us the spending cuts

Shadow Culture Secretary Ivan Lewis said the cuts would have a “chilling impact” and warned some organisations would close down and others would have to increase ticket prices.

He said: “I fear a return to the 80s and 90s when the arts were for the few, not the many.”

Culture Editor Matthew Cain blogs on arts funding cuts:

We've all been there. Waiting for exam results or to hear about a job application. This morning directors of arts institutions across England were glued to their inboxes waiting for an email to arrive telling them whether or not they've secured crucial funding to survive into next year. And now the wait is over.

It had been hailed as the biggest cull of the arts since Arts Council England came into existence in 1946. As it turned out, it wasn't quite the bloodbath some predicted. Yes, the total amount of cash passed onto publicly funded arts institutions was slashed by 15%. And yes, more than 150 of the organisations on last year's list won't receive anything at all in April 2012. But 110 new organisations will be receiving funding for the first time. And this news surprised many but has been widely welcomed.

The very fact that these new organisations will be receiving funding while others were ditched implies that it was high time for something of a clear-out.

Read more: Arts funding shake up long overdue?

Negative impact

Some of the worst-hit groups have questioned the thinking behind the cuts. Dada-South supports deaf and disabled artists. Its funding will be halved from next year before dropping to zero from 2013/14.

Chair Graham Wiffen said: “The Board finds it both extremely difficult to understand and accept a decision that will have such a negative impact on the aspirations and ambitions of disabled and deaf artists.”

Meanwhile, The Maltings Theatre and Arts Centre is one of the surprise winners, with funding set to increase by more than 300 per cent. Dr Miles Gregory, chief executive of the theatre, said: “We are obviously pleased that Arts Council England recognise the significant improvements that we have delivered over the last two years.

“We realise though that other organisations in our region may not have been successful, and there will be a need for arts organisations to work together…”

A spokesman for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport said the government had “worked hard” to ensure long-term financial viability of the arts.

See the full Arts Council funding list - National Portfolio Organisations