Spending review cuts threaten two-thirds of UK arts projects

TWO-THIRDS of organisations that currently receive grants from Arts Council England could lose all their funding as a result of the government’s forthcoming spending review, according to a briefing seen by City A.M.

The quango, which distributes central government funding, has concluded that in the worst case scenario its existing National Portfolio programme of support for 696 arts organisations could be reduced to just 200-260 schemes for the 2015-16 financial year.

London organisations that receive funding from the National Portfolio include the Whitechapel gallery and the Royal Opera House, as well as dozens of smaller galleries and community outreach projects.

If the Arts Council only endured a spending cut of 10 per cent – in line with what chancellor George Osborne has demanded across the whole of Whitehall – an internal model suggests it could only support 265-300 National Portfolio organisations, even with additional funds from the National Lottery.

The findings came after officials at the Department of Culture, Media, and Sport (DCMS) asked the Arts Council to model budget cuts of between five and 15 per cent.

No final decisions have been taken by either DCMS or the Arts Council.