The Department for Culture, Media and Sport, led by culture secretary Maria Miller, is reported to have negotiated a cut of 8% for the period 2015/16, with a roughly 5% cut to be dealt to arts organisations and museums.
The settlement is nevertheless expected to have a serious impact on many arts organisations in England, with the Arts Council briefing in recent weeks that a 5% budget reduction would lead to a cut of one-third to the number of National Portfolio Organisations, and with only a percentage of those which lose funding being likely to receive help through the Grants for the Arts programme.
The future picture is further unclear as ACE and the DCMS have not announced details on the legal parameters of the additionality principle, which separates government grant money and Lottery money in order to prevent Lottery windfalls being used to replace government spending.
Sir Peter Bazalgette, chair of Arts Council England, called the news ‘a real result’ for the arts. ‘The Treasury and the chancellor have listened very carefully to a case given with great vim and passion.’
Both the DCMS and ACE have undergone extensive refashioning exercises recently in response to cuts on their internal administrations. Neither can insulate further budget cuts from the organisations they fund.
Chancellor George Osborne will announce the results of the current spending review on 26 June, planning to reveal an £11.5bn decrease in overall public spending. Some spending ‒ on the NHS, schools and foreign aid ‒ is expected to be ringfenced from the cuts, leading to disproportionately large cuts elsewhere.