In which I try not to use the word ‘holistic’

Local authority cuts to arts budgets are being announced around the country in dribs and drabs, meaning that there’s fresh bad news every few days. Fr’instance, we’ve just been told about the changes Birmingham City Council will be making.

A few weeks ago all eyes were on ACE as the government announced how much they’re going to have to scale back what they do.

However, we’re reaching a point (if we’re not there already) where it’s not useful to see cuts to these two funding sources in isolation. To illustrate what I mean, I saw a tweet from @Abi_Macc this evening saying:

Sheeshus. Stans Cafe funding cut by half @MarcusRomer: Arts cuts in Birmingham
#artsfunding #AMPP”

That Stan’s Cafe (a rather excellent theatre company) have had their ‘funding cut by half’ sounds bad – in fact it sounds like they could be in real jeopardy. However, look a bit closer and you’ll see that that ‘half’ refers to a reduction in local authority funding from £12,000 to £6,000 for 2011/12. Things don’t look so bad when you find out that they’ll be getting £100,000 from Arts Council England over that same period.

Just to hammer the point home, when you put those numbers together the reduction from £112000 to £106000 doesn’t look quite so bad – it’s 5% rather than 50%.

Of course, it’s not as simple as that – Creative Partnerships‘ 100% funding cut will have an effect on their revenue, smaller budgets of other orgs and less artistic activity generally might affect the hire of AE Harris, less money in people’s pockets might mean lower ticket sales, that £6,000 represents 6 months of ‘transitional’ funding after which – zilch, applications are being made to Arts Council for funding as part of the new National Portfolio, etc and so on. Sorry to pick on Stan’s in all of this, btw.

It’s complicated, is what I’m saying.

Published by Chris Unitt

I work at One Further, doing digital projects with cultural organisations. Follow @ChrisUnitt or find me on LinkedIn.