Friday, December 17, 2004

Arts funding cuts (2)

The theatre world has been left reeling by the news (reported below) that funding for the Arts Council was being cut in real terms, reports The Stage.
“We knew it would be bad but not that bad” was the response from the performing arts to the news that government funding of Arts Council England is to be frozen at £412 million for the next three years - a cut of £30 million in real terms when inflation is taken into consideration.
Richard Pulford, joint chief executive of the Theatrical Management Association and the Society of London Theatre, warns that the cuts will be “keenly felt in the quality and range of productions"
“We know that the £25 million has worked. It has improved the quality of work, it has improved morale immeasurably. The improvement has begun to be felt in West End theatre and at the same time we have been able to do something to address the endemic problem of low pay in the theatre. It is deeply dismaying,” he said.

“I can’t see how the arts council can be safeguarded from the effects of this and the effects are going to be felt in the most devastating way. There is no question of making up this money from anywhere else. We can’t undo, and wouldn’t want to, the improvements in wages - there’s no question about that. That amount of money in Exchequer terms is the copper in the pocket of a rich man.”

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