Local government spending on the arts has halved since 2010
The Public Campaign for the Arts has highlighted the systematic decline in funding for the arts by local authorities since 2010.
In a new study published recently and based on official government data from the Department of Leveling, Housing and Communities, it was found that local authority spending on all cultural services – including public libraries, venues entertainment, museums, galleries and leisure facilities – have halved across England since 2010.
The cultural sector as a whole is one of the fastest growing and represents tens of billions for the UK economy – as shown in the 2019 Shared Intelligence report on local government spending. As the Arts Council has pointed out in recent reports, local government is the biggest investor in the arts and culture sector in England.
The news comes as arts organizations in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead (the country’s second wealthiest) are reeling after news that the borough has cut its arts funding to zero for 2022-23.
Even local Tory MP and former Prime Minister Theresa May spoke out against the decision of Tory councilors in her constituency, saying she had ‘urged the Council to reconsider its position’.
There has been a steady decrease in local authority spending by RBWM over the last decade (above the national average) – in 2009-10 the council was spending £131.75 per person per year, but in 2020- 21, that had dropped by 69 percent. cent at just £41.42.
Jack Gamble, director of the Public Campaign for the Arts, said: “The arts are not a luxury – they bring vital benefits to our lives and our communities. We appreciate the financial pressures local councils are under, in part due to national government cuts. since 2010, but sacrificing our cultural services is not the solution. We need to find a way to continue funding them alongside other services – it shouldn’t be one or the other.
Comedian and writer Alfie Moore (He’s a good copBBC Radio 4) said: “Wonderful theaters and arts centers like Norden Farm in Maidenhead are the beating heart of the local community. I hope RBWM will decide to keep the funding in place and do whatever it takes can to keep this fabulous place open – it’s really important.”
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