June 19, 2013

UK’s Department of Culture spending cut by 8% — but it could have been worse


Miller: this face is the definition of ‘it could have been worse’

The Culture Secretary, Maria Miller has agreed with the Treasury that the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) will take an 8% cut in spending. English museums and arts organizations are expected to see a cut of about 5%.

Although an almost 10% cut to spending seems steep, it’s much better than expected, and it appears that was thanks to Miller’s ‘obstinacy, and representations from the arts lobby’. Miller hasn’t been a favourite here on MobyLives but she has successfully buffered the DCMS against a larger cut, which many feared was inevitable — Chancellor George Osborne plans to cut £11.5 billion from the budget when he announces the comprehensive spending review of June 26th.

What will a 5% cut mean for arts organisations? According to the Guardian:

a 5% cut could result in one third of English subsidised arts companies losing all of their national public funding – though lottery money will kick in to help 200 or so organisations that can no longer be given revenue funding.

Peter Bazalgette, the Chairman of Arts Council England was pleased with the result, in the circumstances:

“The Treasury and the chancellor have listened very carefully to a case given with great vim and passion. Five percent is a real result within the DCMS overall cut. It’s still of course going to require some tough decisions, but it is a good result for the arts council and the DCMS in the way that they have put the case.”

As the Guardian reminds us, Arts Council England received a 30% cut in 2010, from which it is still recovering. This one will be easier to handle, but there is sure to be casualties.



Zeljka Marosevic is the former managing director of Melville House UK.