One-in-ten companies losing funding to close
29 March 2012
More than one in ten companies which are losing 100% of their core funding from Arts Council England this week are closing as a result, a survey in the Stage newspaper reveals.
The Stage contacted the 206 cultural organisations which were told they would lose all their regular funding last March. Twenty-four have already closed or will close as this funding year comes to an end. A further 22% of respondents described themselves as “at risk of closing”. Only 16% rated their financial situation as healthy. The 206 organisations will lose a combined total of £19.1 million per year when their core funding is cut at the end of this week, The Stage reports. Almost half of respondents (46%) said their organisations were “just surviving”.
In an interview wi th The Stage, Arts Council England's Chief Executive Alan Davey said: “The arts council has never funded all the art that takes place in this country, nor do we have the means to do so. It’s always a difficult decision to stop funding an organisation but faced with an almost 30% reduction in our budget for the arts, we had some hard choices to make. Some organisations we might have chosen to support in other circumstances did not receive funding but, by the same token, it’s important to remember that 110 organisations will receive regular funding for the first time from this April.
“It is inevitable that with a cut to our budget, coupled with an equivalent cut in local authority funding, some organisations would not be able to manage. This is sad, and no attempts to summarise trends can take away that fact. Given the difficult context it is heartening that closures of organisations that lost core funding are still in the minority. Well over half the respondents are battling on despite tough conditions, producing good work and seeking alternative sources of funding, including from us. That is testament to how determined artists in this country are to go on doing what they do for the benefit of audiences.”
According to The Stage dance companies are suffering most from the cuts, with 36% of respondents in this field saying they are closing. None of the respondents from the dance sector described themselves as healthy financially. In addition to the cuts to their arts council funding, 30% of respondents from all sectors said they were also facing reductions to their local authority grants. This “double whammy” of ACE and local council cuts has been one of their biggest concerns.
There is also serious doubt that Government's aim of private money filling the funding gap will be met. The Natural Theatre Company told The Stage: "We have made four long-term employees redundant and the remaining staff will go on to a four-day week in April 2012. One good thing - the cut from £150,000 to zero ACE funding has resulted in a £40,000 rescue package from our local authority over three years (to be confirmed). Otherwise, the expected sympathy vote has only resulted in £12,000 from corporate sources."
One respondent, who wished to remain anonymous, told teh newspaper: “Loss of ACE funding was part of a perfect storm of other key public sector clients (eg regional development agencies) disappearing or being critically diminished.”
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