The Evil Imp

Don’t Panic!

A letter sent by Arts Council England (ACE) to their client list of Regularly Funded Organisations (RFOs) tells those organisations to make preparation for cuts to their annual budgets of 10%.

The letter, signed by ACE’s Chief Exec Alan Davey, is keen to point out that no numbers have yet been confirmed but states;

“Given the economic climate, and the fact we have been asked to model a reduction of up to 30% over four years, we are now asking you to model prudently for a minimum of a 10% reduction in your funding for 11/12. This figure is not final, but we suggest it is a reasonable figure for you to address at this point.”

The letter also points out that instead of their usual three year funding deal ACE is planning a one year commitment followed by a further two year commitment to be confirmed at a later date.

Were ACE to apply cuts of 10% to all of their RFO’s then some would lose millions (we’re looking at you Royal Opera House) while others would lose tens of thousands.

It should come as no surprise to point out that all small to medium scale contemporary dance companies would lose significant portions of their annual budget. Unlike their large scale brothers and sisters (English National Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet, et al) they have far fewer options in terms of replacing that funding through corporate sponsorship.

The current Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, and his many minions in the UK’s Treasury have some unproven, unquantifiable, pie in the sky idea that without government funding the corporate donors will come and they will come in vast numbers.

Such thinking plays into the idea of many a right-wing arts hater that all arts activity takes place in enormous crystal castles filled with magical dragons and unicorns, places to which the poor folk have no invitation.

Those with a brain know that Mr Osborne is a D-list economist whose thinking bears no relation to real life or fiscal competence. Don’t take our word for it, ask Nobel prize winning economist Paul Krugman.

At the time of writing we are unable to confirm from where or how ACE has determined the 10% number.

It is possible that ACE, having access to information from the DCMS and The Treasury, is making a worst case scenario and the cuts will be lower. We’re dealing with the government and political ideology here though so don’t expect common sense or rational thinking to play much of a part in any final decision.