Gordon Brown’s first spending review as prime minister has been met with relief by the cultural sector after it was confirmed that Arts Council England would receive an inflationary increase in funding for the next three years.Update: on The Guardian's Theatre Blog, however, Lyn Gardner is not impressed.
Many within the industry had feared ACE would be hit by standstill funding or worse. However, Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling confirmed this week that the Department for Culture, Media and Sport’s allotment would increase from £1.68 billion to £2.21 billion in 2010/11, a settlement which he said “guarantees an inflation increase for the arts”.
...while it is probably right to feel relieved, I for one am not going to be sitting around feeling grateful for a cash settlement that will keep many surviving by their fingertips and many more talented artists unable to even get a foothold in their chosen professions. Over the next few years we are likely to lose an entire generation of theatre-makers who simply won't get the necessary funding to make those first steps. While we are about it, let's remember that the money that the government gives to the arts is not a handout but an investment. The arts gives more back to the economy than it takes in subsidies, but what cannot be measured is what it gives back in nurturing the imaginative health and well-being of the nation.