Funding of the arts and heritage

Written evidence submitted by Peter Collins (arts 05)

My name is Mr Peter Collins, I have worked and volunteered within the museums and heritage Sector since 2003 for range employers including the National Trust, Imperial War Museum and The Waterways Trust

In response to your request for submissions for view on future funding for the Arts and Heritage Sector, I would like to make the following points:

What impact recent, and future, spending cuts from central and local Government will have on the arts and heritage at a national and local level;

Renaissance in the regions has been instrumental in transporting learning and engagement in the heritage sector since its inception through funding of posts and targeting particular projects/training schemes. The scaling back on this is very likely to have an impact on the gains that have been made. Central government’s spending reduction on national museums is also likely to reduce the capacity of large museums to support the smaller ones again decreasing the excellent gains in knowledge transfer from larger museums to the smaller ones

What arts organisations can do to work more closely together in order to reduce duplication of effort and to make economies of scale;

Shared networks and skills will becoming increasingly important and the focus of any future arts body(ies) should reflect this

What level of public subsidy for the arts and heritage is necessary and sustainable;

A difficult question to answer, current levels of spending has achieved a lot but the more effective use of staff, volunteers and interns could achieve savings

Whether the current system, and structure, of funding distribution is the right one;

Centralisation of funding structure is a sensible one and also for the role of MLA to be merged with Arts Council along with Film etc. However the knowledge of these organisation needs to reflect the sectors that it is responsible for

What impact recent changes to the distribution of National Lottery funds will have on arts and heritage organisations;

These changes have made the lottery more focused and taken it back to its roots, this positive for the arts sector

Whether the policy guidelines for National Lottery funding need to be reviewed;

Current policy guidelines for Lottery funding work well, but more assistance from the awarding bodies with the applications will assist more applications from smaller organisations, particularly those that are volunteer led

The impact of recent changes to DCMS arm’s-length bodies - in particular the abolition of the UK Film Council and the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council;

As mentioned previously, this can be positive change as long as the knowledge of these organisations, contacts, support and guidance is retained

Whether businesses and philanthropists can play a long-term role in funding arts at a national and local level;

Certainly yes, but there needs to need to educate those outside London in gaining more funds in this manner

Whether there need to be more Government incentives to encourage private donations.

Favourable tax regime based on US style of taxation breaks in relation to the arts will greatly assist in getting more funding into the sector, particularly for institutions outside London

August 2010