23/03/2016

Arts Council Expecting Budget Cut

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland (ACNI) is expecting its budget for 2016/17 to be cut by just under 6%.

It made the statement following advice from the Department for Culture Arts and Leisure (DCAL), however it will be subject to Ministerial decisions in the new NI Assembly Mandate.

Bob Collins, Chairman of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, said: "The arts sector is again facing another financially challenging year. It is expected that the Arts Council of Northern Ireland will receive a further 5.7% cut to its exchequer funding once the new Executive takes office in May. We are left with just £8.77 million to core fund the valuable work our artists and arts organisations deliver for the benefit of all in Northern Ireland.
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"It is with a degree of relief that the Arts Council has been able to mitigate any further damage to the sector by offering largely standstill funding to 107 arts organisations across Northern Ireland. Even in a low inflation environment, this still represents a further reduction as it follows significant cuts. We have found it challenging to find efficiency savings but we made staff reductions and, together with our move to new premises, this has helped prevent us passing this particular cut onto our arts organisations.

"This gloomy outlook has to be seen against the background of ten years of disinvestment by government in the Arts in Northern Ireland. There has been a cumulative loss of £3.5m of exchequer funding for the arts over the last three years alone, a reduction of over 25%. As we make our transition into the new Department for Communities, it is with sincere concern for the future that I call on the new Minister and the new Northern Ireland Executive to begin to focus anew on the value of the arts, on their relationship to everyone in Northern Ireland and to begin a programme of reinvestment in the Arts."

(CD)

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