Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 26 July 2014

Funds slashed for many arts groups

Chairwoman Dame Liz Forgan said deciding on Arts Council funding cuts had been painful

Hundreds of theatres, galleries and other organisations are to lose some, or all, of their public funding because of Government spending cuts.

The Government has told Arts Council England (ACE) to cut 15% from what it gives out to arts groups by 2015, leaving it with just under £1 billion to distribute.

Unveiling its spending plans for 2012 to 2015, ACE revealed that 1,333 groups had applied for funding with just 695 being given grants for three years from 2012. This includes 110 groups not previously funded by ACE and is fewer than the 849 organisations funded under the old regime.

More than 300 groups who previously received funding face a cut in real terms to their grants.

ACE chair Dame Liz Forgan said: "This is about a resilient future for the arts in England. We have taken the brave path of strategic choices, not salami slices, which has meant some painful decisions. And it is with great regret that we have to cease funding some good organisations."

One of the biggest losers was the Institute of Contemporary Arts in central London which faces a cut of 42.5%.

ACE chief executive Alan Davey said the group, which will receive £900,000 a year under the new settlement, was still getting "a good amount of money".

He insisted: "It's an amount of money with which they can do some significant work."

Eight of the nine groups which received the most funding under the old regime will have their grants cut.

Mr Davey said large organisations had to act as "good citizens", adding: "It could be helping smaller organisations with fundraising, spreading the expertise and knowledge in those organisations."

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