Lottery funding ‘still available’

The Arts Council of England is urging the design community to continue to apply for Lottery capital projects and not be discouraged by recent press coverage suggesting drastic cuts in certain Lottery funds.

The Arts Council is responsible for allocating National Lottery funding for theatres, galleries and arts initiatives. The council has a major impact on the design community as it assesses feasibility of planned design projects.

Over the past two years the Arts Council has distributed 804m to 1563 projects across the country, although there are now suggestions that this funding will be capped.

The arts was one of the five “good causes” which were allocated Lottery funds, but the Government now intends to establish a sixth cause for health and education.

The remaining five Lottery funds fear their shares will now be cut from an estimated average of 280m to less than 250m.

“There is likely to be some reduction in funding, but nothing on the scale that has been reported,” says an Arts Council spokeswoman. She dismisses one report that the council would receive just 100m a year as “wholly inaccurate” and insists the council is not about to axe a series of projects.

The official line from the Arts Council is to urge applicants to keep coming forward with potential projects, despite one quote in the Daily Telegraph from the council’s chairman of the Lottery panel, Prudence Skene, saying: “To some of the bigger companies we will for the next few years have to say – don’t even think of applying.”

But the council spokeswoman insists: “People should continue to respond. Everything is going ahead as normal.”

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