Funding of the arts and heritage

Written evidence submitted by Southwark Arts Forum (arts 44)

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

· Reduction in choice of activities

· Reduction in number of activities

· Reduction in diversity of activity

· Less risk taking

· Loss of innovation

· Loss of artists and their skills, as people change sectors because they can no longer sustain a living as an artist.

· Funding criteria from Trusts & Foundations more stringently adhered to and increase in applications to this source of funding.

· Reduction in sponsorship from business as the look to save costs themselves.

· Increased competition for private sector funding generally.

· Leadership of arts organisations diverted away from their core activity to spend more time on fundraising.

· Increase in demand for Fundraisers/ Development Managers.

· Individual artists hit hard as they struggle to find appropriate partnerships, space to work in and markets for their work.

· Anxiety, stress & pressure.

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

· Joint funding bids

· Shared office space, performance space etc.

· Look for alternative currency, eg. sharing skills or expertise in return for use of premises.

· There needs to be forums in every borough to facilitate cultural networks so as to aid these efforts to work together. Infrastructure to support ideas/info/skills sharing.

What level of subsidy for the arts is necessary and sustainable?

· Arts organisations, particularly community and volunteer led organisations are very good at working to a tight budget. More often they are operating on the bare minimum costs so as to get work done. The current levels of subsidy offered by local and national government are sustainable with inflationary increases. What should be applied to it is scaling down of support to help them become more self-sufficient. So whilst organisations would obtain 3 – 5 years funding. It would read something like:

Year 1 at 75%

Year 2 at 75%

Year 3 at 55%

Year 4 at 50%

Year 5 at 33%

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

· A move to directly funding local government to support the arts in their locality would be a better model. With each borough having its own cultural agency to provide the infrastructure to facilitate partnership working. Southwark is a good example of how well this model works and has been held up best practice example for others to follow. We are often asked to advise others on how such a relationship can work.

· Works to local government agenda.

· Usually in synergy with central Government objectives.

· Targeted to local needs.

· Support & sustainability is aided as its readily seen by local people as actually benefiting them and their community.

· Support for local individual artists should increase.

Whether business & philanthropists can play a long-term role in funding arts at a national and local level?

· Business have for many years supported the arts both at national and local level and encouragement to continue to do so is necessary. Tax incentives, employee’s development and community support . The support of agencies like Arts & Business has been valuable in helping business to engage with arts and culture.

Whether there needs to be more Government incentives to encourage private donations?

· Yes.

· Tax breaks

· Match funding from Government

· Recognition awards, like an ‘Investors in People ‘ Award.

September 2010