Following the near 30% cut to its budget, Arts Council England (ACE) has announced it will meet the government’s request to limit the cuts to its regularly funded organisations by no more than 15%.
After a meeting of National Council held yesterday, the ACE has set out its plans for implementing its 29.6% budget cut resulting from the government’s spending review last week. Under a three-year plan, ACE had its budget slashed from its current £449 million to £349 million in 2014/2015 and must find £62.8 million of savings in the first year alone.
ACE said it will treat 2011/2012 as a “transitional year”, implementing a 6.9% cash cut for the majority of the 850 arts organisations in its portfolio, which include 200 subsidised theatres and theatre companies including the National Theatre and Royal Court. By 2014/15 this will increase to a 14.9% real-terms cut to the money available for the regular funding of organisations.
ACE will cut its own operating costs by 50% by 2015, from £22 million to £12 million. Savings will also be made by reducing funding to Arts and Business and the Creative Partnerships scheme. The budget for the Manchester International Festival and monies available for touring and audience development will also be hard hit.
Liz Forgan, Chair of Arts Council England, said: “These are severe cuts, made worse by the fact that around 80% of them have to come in the first two years of the settlement.
“We are determined to lead the arts through this tough period, using all our knowledge, expertise, and brokering skills, and drawing on the resourcefulness and imagination around us.
“For several months we have been in conversation with the DCMS, our funding partners, arts organisations and artists about how we can best support the arts in dealing with significant cuts. We have had to prioritise, to achieve a 6.9% cut to our portfolio within a 14% cash cut to our overall 2011/12 budget.
“These measures are designed to ensure a strong and resilient future. The country needs its artists at a time like this and we are about building, as well as sustaining, our unparalleled arts and cultural sector.”
Following the first, transitional year, from April 2012 all regularly funded organisations will be asked to reapply for funding, with decisions made on the basis of a new funding programme. Full details of the new system will be announced on 4 November, with individual funding decisions for 2012-2015 made in March 2011.