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Equity Challenges Bristol City Council proposed cut to Bristol Old Vic

28 November 2017

Equity, the arts and entertainment union, today challenged Bristol City Council’s proposed cut in funding to the Bristol Old Vic of £188,000.

Maureen Beattie, Equity Vice President said: "This is very troubling news for Bristol, the region and for our wider arts industry. Bristol Old Vic is one of the best known theatres in the world and this proposed cut represents a real threat to the growth of the creative industries in Bristol and the surrounding area."

Stephen Spence, the union’s Deputy for the General Secretary commented: "The proposed cut is much greater than expected and comes as a result of a £100,000 arts funding cap implemented by the Council. This cap was never part of discussions Equity had with Council representatives and if his administration imposes it Mayor Marvin Rees puts the very thing at risk he has called for, greater access to the arts across all parts of the City. Why would the Council do this when BOV’s community access programme is funded by this money?

"Firstly Jacobs Wells Bath dance capacity is being reduced and now a jewel in the Bristol crown will be hampered in its community cultural development work. I thought this administration favoured community engagement."

Simon Curtis, Regional Organiser for South West England observed: "When every pound of Government investment in the arts generates between two and seven pounds of economic activity it is hard to understand these cuts. Central government reductions mean enhanced economic growth is required and the arts provide a greater multiplier effect than most other areas of the economy.

"More people attend arts events then Premier League football, so why is the Mayor so wedded to making arts cuts?"

Stephen Spence concluded: "Equity’s challenge to the Labour led Bristol Council is how can they claim to favour community engagement and economic development by simplistically passing on austerity measures in the arts sector, a proven winner on both fronts. The Westminster Conservative Government abandoned that approach in 2015."

For more information, please contact:

National: Stephen Spence, Deputy for the General Secretary on sspence@equity.org.uk

Regional: Simon Curtis, Regional Organiser for South West England on scurtis@equity.org.uk

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