The demonstration brought together our members and supporters of our campaign — as well as BECTU, the Musicians' Union, the Writers' Guild of Great Britain and PCS. We were also joined by workers from affected arts organisations such the English National Opera (ENO), which stands to lose 100% of its Arts Council England (ACE) funding, putting over 300 jobs at risk.
Since the announcement of the cuts the Government have claimed they are part of a "levelling up agenda", However, while 70% of cuts fall within London, the overwhelming majority of organisations removed from the portfolio fall outside of London.
Speakers included ENO chorister and Equity Dep, Deborah Davison, who told the crowd:
Also speaking was Labour MP for Nottingham East, Nadia Whittome. While welcoming funding for arts organisations in Nottingham, Nadia noted that this should not be at the expense of other areas:
Likewise, Equity Councillor Zainab Hasan told the demo:
Actress and fellow Equity member Juliet Stevenson was also in attendance, she commented:
Our General Secretary Paul W. Fleming was the final speaker before the ENO chorus closed the demonstration with a final rendition of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone”.
This demonstration followed two marches on Arts Council England (ACE) offices in London and Manchester last week, calling for the reversal of funding cuts
Yesterday’s demonstration was alongside a letter to Michelle Donelan, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, stating the union’s demands for an increase to UK arts funding that would enable Arts Council England to reverse cuts to culture organisations.