In a tough public spending climate, artists and arts organisations in England have been anxiously waiting for a 1 July announcement. Arts Council England [ACE] announced how it plans to spend around £1 billion of public money on the arts between 2015-18. The National Portfolio Organisations [NPOs] receive regular funding from ACE to support their artistic work and every spending round sees winners and losers.
Having seen a 36% reduction in funding from the Treasury, ACE took the controversial decision to use National Lottery money to limit the damage. In the past National Lottery money has been used to undertake new and special programmes or to build new halls, theatres, education facilities. As a result, 75% of organisations see their funding maintained over the next three years. That’s the good news.
While some organisations were unsuccessful in their bids to gain or renew regular funding, some 46 organisations nationally will be joining the portfolio for the first time. Among the eight new music NPOs are Café Oto, Jazz re:freshed, Brownswood Music and Colston Hall in Bristol.
The Arts Council also announced a new £15m strategic fund to develop and retain artistic talent outside London which is a very welcome decision.
The UK’s major symphony orchestras and opera companies will generally be dealing with standstill funding from the Arts Council, but with local authority investment also under pressure, there will undoubtedly be challenging times ahead, not only for the organisations but also for the many musicians they employ.
Help Musicians UK cares about professional musicians who are the drivers of our national appetite for music of all kinds. We welcome support for music in all its forms – especially crucial aid from the public purse – as long that support reaches musicians.