Arts Council England has announced a budget of £622 million for its 2018-2022 investment period, with the intention of diverting more funds towards arts and cultural organisations not based in London.
The budget will increase by £37 million per annum from the previous investment period of 2015-2018. The budget will be spread across its three main funding streams: the National Portfolio, Grants for Arts and Culture and strategic funds.
The Arts Council plans to use the increased investment to achieve a 4% increase in the proportion of the national portfolio budget being spent outside London, with the aim that 40% of investment will be spent in London compared to 60% outside of the capital.
National Portfolio and Grants for Arts and Culture
The National Portfolio will include £341 million of grant-in-aid and £68 million of National Lottery funding, which will be used to support the integration of museums and libraries into its portfolio and help bring in new, small and diverse organisations.
Meanwhile, the Grants for Arts and Culture stream will see an increased budget of £10 million per annum to £87.5 million each year, continuing to support thousands of individual artists, community and cultural organisations. Museums will also be able to apply for this funding stream for the first time from 2018.
Finally, strategic funds investment will largely remain the same at £125 million per year. The Arts Council says it will continue to be used to address gaps within the sector, including enhancing diversity and increasing art and cultural activity in areas with low levels of engagement.
“Reach more people in new ways”
Darren Henley, chief executive of Arts Council England, says: “We’ve planned a budget that lets us reach more people in new ways. We’ll increase investment outside London without damaging the capital; fund more new, small and diverse organisations. And museums, libraries and arts organisations will apply to us on a more level playing field.
“We’ve been ambitious in our plans but our funding position remains very tight. We need our money to stretch much further, and we’ll have to revisit the spreadsheets if the financial picture deteriorates in the future.”