Belfast Telegraph

Belfast council may join fight for better arts funding in wake of cuts

By Andrew Madden

Belfast City Council will debate a motion calling for equality in arts funding in the wake of drastic cuts that have already seen some groups being cut off entirely.

Last month the Arts Council for Northern Ireland announced its funding for 2018/19 would total £13.1m, an annual reduction of 4.7%.

This would see less cash going to 43 out of 100 publicly funded organisations, many of which need the money to survive, and leave seven groups completely cut off.

Alliance councillor Emmet McDonough-Brown has tabled a motion calling for the council to declare its "formal support" for advocacy group Arts Matter NI and its campaign for arts funding equality with the rest of the UK and Ireland.

The motion will also ask the council to send an all-party delegation to the Department for Communities, where overall arts and culture decisions are made, to "demand more funds for the arts".

In May, Arts Matter NI led a debate between representatives from 60 arts organisations over the funding reductions - cuts they say could "kill the arts" here.

The debate was held in Belfast's Grand Opera House, where the public funding has been slashed by more than £100,000 this year.

Seconded by Alliance council group leader Michael Long, the motion will be debated at Monday's annual meeting at City Hall.

"This council asserts the value of the arts in our everyday lives, including our wellbeing, education, inclusion as well as our creative and evening economy and our tourism offering," the motion reads.

"Accordingly, the council extends its formal support to the Arts Matter NI campaign for equal funding and agrees that an all-party delegation meet the permanent secretary at the Department for Communities to demand more funds for the arts."

Belfast Telegraph

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