Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 2 August 2014

MLAs unite to seek more arts funding

Assembly members have united to demand "bottom of the pile" funding for the arts in Northern Ireland is increased to the United Kingdom average.

Their combined call came after MLAs were told cash support for the arts in the province is just £6.30 per head of population compared to £8.39 in England, £8.80 in Wales, and £11.93 in Scotland.

Arts spending in the province is also just half of that in the Irish Republic - £12.61, Alliance member Anna Lo said.

The Arts Council is facing a lottery projects reduction of £4.5m in the next few years, Ms Lo said, after three successive years of "standstill" funding because lottery cash is being reallocated to the 2012 London Olympics.

Meanwhile, Culture, Arts and Leisure Minister Edwin Poots revealed he had not received the support of Ulster Unionist Ministers Sir Reg Empey and Michael McGimpsey.

He said the comments of Strangford MLA David McNarry, vice-chair of the Stormont committee which monitors his Department, about UU support for the arts was not "always reflected by his ministerial colleagues".

Mr Poots said he has asked within the Comprehensive Spending negotiations for Northern Ireland to be brought into line with other regions at a cost of £26m a year.

Newry and Armagh SDLP MLA Dominic Bradley said a vibrant arts sector could be linked to economic dynamism.

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Latest News

Latest Sport

Latest Showbiz