Entertainment & Arts

Arts bodies react to spending review announcement

Sir Peter Bazalgette, Sir Nicholas Hytner and Sir Nicholas Serota
Image caption Sir Peter Bazalgette, Sir Nicholas Hytner and Sir Nicholas Serota are among those to comment

The chancellor's announcement of a 7% spending cut in the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has prompted a range of reactions from groups and bodies in the arts sector.

Sir Nicholas Serota, director of the Tate galleries, welcomed the level of cuts, while Sir Nicholas Hytner, director of the National Theatre, said Culture Secretary Maria Miller had "done well" to limit the cut in the national arts budget to 5%.

Arts Council England and national museums will share less of the burden with a reduction of 5% during 2015/16.

But some regional arts organisations have responded less favourably to the outcome of the Spending Review.

The reductions were announced as part of an £11.5bn cuts package unveiled by George Osborne on Wednesday.

Sir Peter Bazalgette - chair, Arts Council England

A cut of 5% is a best-case scenario in what are difficult and testing economic times for everyone. DCMS and the culture sector have all done a good job in making the case for continued government investment in arts and culture and highlighting the vital contribution which they are able to make to our quality of life and economy as a result. It's encouraging to see that the Treasury and chancellor have taken note.

Today's announcement shows more detail on the level of cuts facing local authorities which is cause for concern.

Our next step will be to consider how best to run an investment strategy which will provide the maximum benefit not only to the sector but to the wider public. We will have more information to share in the coming weeks.

Sir Nicholas Serota - director, Tate Galleries

In the context of overall reductions in public expenditure, the decision to limit cuts to the arts and museums to 5% and to give greater operational freedom to museums is most welcome.

It is a recognition by the chancellor, Culture Secretary Maria Miller and Arts Minister Ed Vaizey, and by government, of the important contribution made by culture and creative industries to the life of communities across the country and to the international standing of Britain.

Sally O'Neill - interim chief executive, Royal Opera House

I am encouraged that the government has listened to our concerns and recognises the value that arts and culture make to both the quality of people's lives, and also to the economy.

I now look forward to working with Arts Council England as they determine how best to allocate their resources for the future.

We recognise the 5% cut will have a significant impact and we will continue to do all we can to support our colleagues across the sector, including those working in the smaller and regional companies who play such a vital role in the creative industries and who may also be impacted by the 10% cut to local governments.

Throughout these difficult economic times the Royal Opera House continues to provide exceptional value for the money we receive, raising more than £3 for every £1 of public subsidy.

Richard Mantle - general director, Opera North

I'm sure one could argue that it could be worse. It would be crazy to think that we should be celebrating a 5% cut. But I suppose compared to what was potentially in the works it's perhaps a better result than we might have feared.

It doesn't get us out of the woods though at all, because it's a 5% cut on top of a period of quite severe cuts that have gone to arts organisations since 2011. So it's the cumulative effect which is the challenging thing and the problem comes if the Arts Council continues to salami slice across. That doesn't solve anybody's problem.

Keith Merrin - director, Woodhorn Museum, Northumberland

The 5% cut to national museum and arts funding may not be as bad as feared at one point but the real damage will be caused by the cuts to local authority funding.

Regional museums and arts organisations will be hit hard by cuts in council funding and the belief that philanthropy will pick up the slack is simply unrealistic in most parts of the country.

Stephen Deuchar - director, Art Fund

Our biggest worry is for local museums, many of whom will once again be saddled with a double whammy - cuts to their Arts Council grant and cuts to local authority support. And some local authorities are already preparing 100% cuts.

But it doesn't have to be like this. In Wakefield and Walthamstow, for example, local councillors buy into the economic, educational and social importance of culture on the whole community, and their museums shine like beacons.

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