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Local Authority Arts Funding - what should be done?

As budgets tighten, many local authorities feel they have little choice but to cut spending on arts and culture. But how is the sector reacting and what should be done to help mitigate the damage? (ArtsProfessional Pulse Report special feature)

Frances Richens shares the findings of ArtsProfessional’s latest Pulse survey:


The amount of money central government directs to local authorities across England has fallen by 38% since 2010. Cuts, efficiencies, and renewed efforts to generate income are priorities in councils across the country.

The arts – which don’t benefit from statutory status – have gained an unfortunate reputation as being an easy cut for councils facing ‘difficult decisions’. A 2016 report by Arts Council England estimated that, since 2010, local authority investment in arts and culture had declined by £236m – equivalent to 17% – and warned that cuts were likely to continue.

As the biggest funder of arts and culture across the country, local authorities’ decisions are having a significant impact on arts organisations and local arts infrastructures. In some places, local authority support for arts and culture has stopped completely.

This piece of research from ArtsProfessional has attempted to shed light on the effects of these spending cuts, but also to generate a better understanding of how arts organisations are coping and identify some potential routes forward for the sector.

An online survey ran between July and August 2017. It was distributed to readers of ArtsProfessional and received 506 responses, predominantly from those working in or with the arts and culture sector, some within local authorities. It asked respondents for their observations about how local authority support for the arts had changed, how arts organisations were responding and what should be done to steer the sector towards a thriving future.


Read the full survey responses in the pdf document here, including more than 600 comments related to local authority support for the arts.

Read the full report on the ArtsProfessional website: Pulse Report: Local Authority Arts Funding




Image: Éole Wind ( CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)


Posted on 27 October 2017

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