URGENT: Bristol City Council 100K Arts Budget Cut
15 February 2014
It is reported that Sean Beynon, Councillor for Southville, has proposed a budget cut of £100,000 to the Bristol City Council arts budget with effect from 1 April 2014. The whole arts budget is £977,000 so this represents a cut of nearly 10%. This would be very bad news for arts and theatre in Bristol and the South-West, and it’s possible the cut will go through.
This is due to be decided on during a council budget meeting this Tuesday 18th February.
We know that times are hard, and lots of council services are having their budgets slashed, but it’s worth reiterating that Arts funding is an investment, and in fact boosts the wider economy.
Indeed, every pound spent on the arts yields £4 in revenue from tourism, restaurants, hotels and other sources as a direct result of that spend (see below).
Arts Council England was looking favourably on Bristol because of the sustained commitment to the arts – if Bristol cuts 100k, the question rises, will ACE do similar?
As you see, this is an imminent decision and needs as many people as possible to write to their local Councillor and oppose any proposed cut. We can’t let the council perceive the arts as a soft or easy target.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
- Please email your councillor, telling them you oppose the cuts and asking for their commitment to Arts funding. You can find your local councillor’s contact details here: http://www.bristol.gov.uk/page/council-and-democracy/councillors.
- You can join the Facebook group, ‘Arts Cuts in Bristol 2014’: https://www.facebook.com/groups/243227295863012/243378602514548/
- If you are on Twitter, you can also tweet the following message (or your own) using the #BristolArts hashtag:
.@BristolCouncil to debate 10%/100K #artsbudget cut this Tuesday! Tell your councillor @IValueTheArts! http://www.bristol.gov.uk/page/council-and-democracy/councillors #BristolArts
- The Lost Arts website, last month reported The Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS)’s Creative Industries Economic Estimates, measuring the value of creative industries. It reports that the creative economy as a whole employed 2.55 million, accounting for 1 out of every 12 jobs in the UK. Focusing on arts and culture businesses alone, the creative industries accounted for 1.68 million (5.6%) jobs. That is an increase of 8.6%, compared to a national average of a paltry 0.7%. Arts and culture are also successful exports, worth £15.5 billion in 2011. That’s 8% total UK service exports. The Gross Value Added (GVA) of Creative Industries is estimated at £71.4 billion in 2012, 5.2% of the UK economy. This is an increase of 9.4% on 2011 and according to DCMS, works out at “a staggering £8 million pounds an hour”. Source: http://www.lost-arts.org/dcms-figures-show-value-of-creative-industries/
- Report by the Local Government Association, March 2013, says every £1 of public investment levers £4 for the economy: http://www.local.gov.uk/media-releases/-/journal_content/56/10180/3904567/NEWS
- Report commissioned by the Arts Council, May 2013, adds that the return on public investment in the arts is 0.4%: 0.1% and that the sector outperforms most other comparable investment areas, including retail: http://www.artscouncil.org.uk/advice-and-guidance/browse-advice-and-guidance/contribution-arts-and-culture-national-economy
The message is clear: Now is not the time to be cutting arts funding!
WHAT WE'VE DONE SO FAR:
Last year, our branch received a letter from Mayor George Ferguson's office, which told us:
“The City Council acknowledges the importance of the cultural and creative sectors to the economic and social viability of the city and for this reason has determined to maintain its funding commitments to KAP’s (Key Arts Providers), including allowing inflationary increases year on year”
It's time for us to hold them to their promise.
Thanks for your time, please take action on this issue as soon as you can.