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Equity calls Stormont arts funding standstill “a cut in all but name”

Equity has called the decision to keep arts funding in Northern Ireland at 2023 levels “a cut in all but name”.

Equity slams Stormont arts funding standstill

Equity has called the decision to keep arts funding in Northern Ireland at 2023 levels “a cut in all but name”.

The Minister for Communities, Gordon Lyons, has announced that funding for the department’s arm’s length bodies – which includes the Arts Council of Northern Ireland – is to remain at 2023 levels.

Since 2023, Equity has been campaigning to Resist the Cuts to arts funding in Northern Ireland, which last year totalled a 40% cut over 10 years. The proposed funding standstill will amount to a real terms cut yet again to arts funding in NI. 

Stephen Beggs, Equity’s Northern Ireland Committee Chair, says: “The current choice by the Minister to maintain funding for Arts Council NI at 2023 levels is a cut in all but name, and of no comfort at all to the union and the 12,500 individuals who signed our petition to demand no more cuts to the arts here.  Are we supposed to be relieved that we haven’t had yet another reduction in the money released to ACNI? No – this is still a real terms cut, and we need proper investment in the arts, which repays not only financially but to our communities, health and well-being.” 

The new announcement underlines the need to defend and extend funding for the arts, with Equity calling on members to contact their local Parliamentary candidates seeking commitments for this alongside four other demands (detailed below) in the run up to the General Election as part of the union’s Stop the Cuts and Save the Arts campaign.


1.     Increase UK arts & entertainment funding to 0.5% of GDP.

Bring the UK into line with the European average for arts funding, and provide £1bn of new funding for the devolved nations.

2.     Scrap the ‘tax on hope’.

End the legal exemption which allows casting directories to charge upfront fees to performing artists.

3.      Abolish the Minimum Income Floor.

Reform Universal Credit to provide freelancers with the same protections as the employed.

4.     Require all publicly funded work to be produced on Equity agreements.

Ensure that any arts and entertainment work which receives public subsidy – including government tax breaks – is made on union-agreed terms and conditions.

5.  Defend and extend trade union bargained royalties.

 Ratify the Beijing treaty to give unions a statutory right to bargain from – including in un-unionised areas like video-games and TV commercials.


To find out more about Equity's campaign to save the arts at the 2024 General Election, see our campaign page here

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