Government Awards ACE Extra £50m Arts FundingDate: 12 October 2007
Further to Tuesday’s guarantee (See News, 9 Oct 2007), as part of the Comprehensive Spending Review to the House of Commons, of an inflationary increase in arts funding over the next three years, Culture Secretary James Purnell has today promised another £50 million boost to Arts Council England (ACE).
The organisation's funding will rise from £417 million this year to £467 million in 2010/11, a real-terms increase year-on-year of 1.1 percent. The funding comes from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport’s settlement in the 2007 spending review and, according to the department’s press statement, “makes clear the Government's commitment to supporting excellence in the arts in this country”.
Purnell said: “The extra £50 million that the Arts Council will receive by 2010/11 will ensure that artists, performers and companies get the chance to continue producing world-class work for growing audiences. Our arts and culture matter. They are a key part of the life and identity of our country, and that's why the Government has invested heavily in them since 1997. This country can hold its own on the international stage, producing brilliant, world-class and groundbreaking work. This year's settlement will help ensure our arts sector - one of the nation's greatest success stories - can go on to achieve even more.”
The subsidised theatre sector, which was already breathing a sigh of relief after Tuesday’s announcement, has welcomed today’s news. ACE chief executive Peter Hewitt said: “This is fantastic news - the Government has acted on the case we have made for the arts. It's a recognition of the work of our artists and arts organisations whose energy and imagination have made our cultural life genuinely the envy of the world. The Arts Council priorities for excellence and innovation in the arts can now be made real in exciting and inspiring ways and we will work with the rest of the cultural sector to deliver a truly creative Cultural Olympiad."
Earlier this year, it was feared that, particularly in the lead-up to the 2012 Olympics, the arts may face standstill funding (not taking into account inflation) or even as much as a five percent drop.
National Theatre artistic director Nicholas Hytner - who has been outspoken about possible cuts in funding, enlisting Oscar winners and other celebrities in the campaign to avert reductions – said today: “This is excellent news and, under current economic circumstances, the best anyone in the arts could have expected. I welcome warmly James Purnell’s inspiring recognition of what the arts sector has achieved and can go on to achieve.”
- by Terri Paddock