31/03/2011

BECTU Slams 'Incomprehensible' Arts Cuts

The broadcast union, BECTU, is warning of redundancies and company closures across Britain on top of thousands of job losses in the arts, as the scale of the Arts's Council cuts becomes clear.

The Arts Council of England announced that more than 200 arts organisations will lose their funding, in addition to more than 300 facing a cut in real terms. Among those losing out are the Northcott Theatre in Exeter and Derby Theatre whose funding is being axed, which contradicts the Arts Council's statement that the backbone of regional theatre was being "increased by 1.1% in cash terms".

BECTU General Secretary Gerry Morrissey commented: "There are 200 arts organisations whose workforces are now facing unemployment - and there is nowhere those organisations can turn for alternative funding, despite the Government's blithe protestations that enlightened rich people might care to dip their hands in their pockets.

"Economic studies over many years have shown the beneficial economic effect arts organisations have on their communities.

"The impact of the closure of an arts organisation will ripple out across the community - many small private sector companies supply their services to the arts organisations and closure could tip these hard-pressed companies over the edge as could a major scaling back of their business needs."

As news began filtering out of who faced cuts, BECTU condemned the incomprehensible funding decisions that on the one hand included axeing the funding of the Northcott Theatre in Exeter and Derby Theatre, a 39% budget cut for the Almeida theatre and 22% cut at Talawa theatre company – but on the other hand a 190% increase for English Pen, 82.1% for the Arcola and the Barbican up by 108%.

(BMcN)

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