MPs say public spending cuts could be ‘disastrous’ for the arts

A ‘double-whammy’ of local authority cutbacks and spending reductions from the Arts Council could force arts organisations across the country to close, MPs have warned.

The Funding the Arts and Heritage report from the House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport select committee says smaller groups and organisations outside major cities are at particular risk.

The report says, ‘The impact of cuts could be mitigated by better financial management in arts and heritage organisations.’ It also says, ‘Arts and heritage organisations should be encouraged to become more commercially aware and explore other funding streams, although we note this will be harder for some smaller bodies and those outside London and the metropolitan areas.’

The report also criticised the Arts Council for wasting money on some projects in the past, highlighting the public gallery in West Bromwich – which opened late and over budget – as ‘a gross waste of public money’.

The Arts Council, which has had its Government funding cut by 30 per cent, is to announce its grant allocations to organisations on Wednesday.

Conservative MP John Whittingdale, chairman of the committee, says, ‘We realise that cuts in public spending will have a major impact on arts and heritage organisations, forcing some closures and we regret that.’

He adds, ‘However, at a time when cuts are biting across the board, it is right that all sectors share the burden.’

Latest articles