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Arts Council announces cuts and raids the Lottery bank

Arts Council England announced today that it has taken extraordinary measures to avoid a 17% funding cut from 2015/16. By dipping into National Lottery revenues, which it manages, the ACE will restrict the cuts to two percent.

The bad news/good news ploy was used to disguise a flagrant raid on Lottery money, which has been been firewalled until now for new buildings and projects under a principle known as ‘additionality’. By blurring those lines, the ACE has opened the door to a dangerous precedent – the prospect that, under a future Government, the state might withdraw altogether from funding the arts and leave their maintenance to the vagaries of Lottery income.

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First report here. The Guardian follows up, uncritical as ever of its ACE sacred cow.

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Comments

  1. Let’s just hope future governments cut every single penny from the Arts. The arts should get by on their own. If not – tough. It isn’t philistinism, but simply a question of basic, human priorities. While care for the elderly and sick is appallingly inadequate, we shouldn’t be spending money on orchestras or opera houses. One is a necessity and a human right, the other is a hobby for people who are usually pretty well off.

    As it happens, I do devote a fair amount of time to the “Arts”. It is important – for me. But I don’t believe for one minute that any government should ever subsidise or fund these from general taxation.

    • Will Duffay says:

      Withdraw funding and the arts – which for many people, poor, rich, middling, make life worth living – will simply die or become the preserve of the very wealthy.

      If you want to save money, and arguably every pound spent on the arts generates much more in return and helps stimulate our dormant economy, then cut funding to nuclear weapons.

    • “One is a necessity and a human right, the other is a hobby for people who are usually pretty well off.”
      Well done, eltonB. No prejudice there then.

      “It is important – for me. But I don’t believe for one minute that any government should ever subsidise or fund these from general taxation.”
      Yeah, you’re right. Why should people less fortunate than you have the opportunity to experience the benefit of the arts and culture? The scrounging b**tards.

      • Well said.

        Furthermore, money spent on the arts is a tiny fraction of the welfare budget. Cutting arts spending wouldn’t make a scrap of difference.

  2. Will Duffay says:

    Anyway, to address the central point: of course it’s wrong to raid the Lottery for day-to-day arts funding. Completely inappropriate and likely to cause long-term problems. But I guess it’s part and parcel of Tory policy to withdraw the State from as much as possible (regardless of the consequences).

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