Funding of the arts and heritage

Written evidence submitted by Culture Service, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (arts 170)

1. 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

We are concerned that cuts in funding of the arts and heritage will:

· Undermine the excellent work of the past two decades

· Make arts and heritage funding less attractive to private companies, trusts, foundations, philanthropists and others

· Make Britain, in general, and London, in particular, less of a destination of choice for (overseas) visitors

· Reduce the international status of Britain, in general, and London, in particular, as centres of cultural and artistic excellence and innovation

· Have a disproportionate impact on the socially disadvantaged and those who have traditionally been beyond the reach of the arts, culture, and heritage sectors – yet who have started to engage more in recent years as a direct result of dedicated programmes of engagement and social cohesion

· Have a negative impact on the (commercial) creative industries, which have a healthy symbiotic relationship with the funded arts, culture, and heritage sectors

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

We believe that arts organisations should:

· Network more efficiently with each other

· Work together to maximise the lobbying and advocacy power of organisations such as Arts Council England

· Work together with Government to promote the values and benefits of the arts to society

· Benefit more from best practice in other organisations

· Utilise resources such as premises, management and administration more efficiently – by processes such as sharing or pooling resources

· Become ever more robust with regards to their efficiency and professionalism

· Advocate more strongly as a sector on behalf of the arts, culture, and heritage

· Recognise that there is no such thing as an inalienable right to be in receipt of public funding

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

We believe that public subsidy for the arts and heritage should be set at a level that:

· Is commensurate with achieving particular goals and ambitions – artistically, financially, socially

· Is in line with general public opinion as to the importance of arts, heritage and culture

· Allows for the realisation of long-term (say, twenty-year) strategic plans and ambitions

· Recognises that, as society in general becomes more affluent, the public as a whole looks to engage more with arts, heritage and culture

· Recognises that short-term savings now may lead to situations that are not redeemable in the future – this applies in particular to conservation of heritage

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

We believe in a system, and structure, of funding distribution that:

· Has a balance between national and local interests

· Is transparent and accountable

· Is efficient, cost-effective, and avoids duplication

· Is flexible and adaptable to change

· Engages with the public and champions the interests of artists and arts organisations

· Recognises that there is no inalienable right to administer and distribute public funds

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

We believe that an increase in National Lottery funding of arts and heritage:

· should be beneficial, though may not fully offset reductions in funding elsewhere (e.g. through central or local government)

· could set an unfortunate precedent, whereby Lottery funding Is seen as replacement for, rather than complement to, Treasury funding

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

We believe that the policy guidelines for National Lottery funding need to be reviewed to take account of:

· The strengths and weaknesses – achievements and disappointments – of the past sixteen years of lottery funding

· Changes in demography

· Changes in the arts, culture, and heritage landscape brought about by digital technology and other innovations

7. 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

We believe that DCMS should:

· Draw a clear distinction between an arm’s-length body and the area of work for which it has a responsibility

· Continue to investigate merger and other potential organisational change while ensuring that all core responsibilities remain fulfilled

· Look to minimise the loss of expertise (brain drain) from the arts, culture, and heritage sector

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

We believe:

· businesses and philanthropists can play a long-term role in funding arts, though this is a complement to, not replacement for, public subsidy

· that cuts in public funding of arts and heritage are likely to make the sector less attractive to private companies, trusts, foundations, philanthropists and others

· that there is considerable potential to develop mutually beneficial partnerships between small- or medium-sized businesses in the private sector and their arts counterparts

· that businesses and philanthropists will welcome tax breaks that will further enhance their financial contribution

· that Government (central and local) can work more closely with arm’s-length bodies such as Arts Council England and arts organisations to promote the attractiveness of the arts and heritage sector to businesses and philanthropists

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

We believe that there is considerable scope to encourage private donations to the arts, culture and heritage sectors. This can be achieved by:

· Government working more closely with arm’s-length bodies such as Arts Council England and arts organisations to promote the attractiveness of the arts and heritage sector to private individuals

· Developing schemes for private donors that focus on the considerable equity that many individuals now have in property

· Encouraging individuals to leave money to arts organisations as part of their will

· Offering tax breaks and incentives

· Ensuring that there is an allocation of seats on the Boards of large arts organisations (and arm’s-length bodies) for "interested citizens"

We would also like to make the point that Government could considerably assist the arts by easing regulatory frameworks such as licensing, with a view to making them more appropriate to the needs, interests and requirements of the arts sector. An example of this is the London Local Authorities Act, which prevents a local authority from making a profit from street trading. We believe that this could be amended to the effect that any local authority profits from street trading be put towards arts and cultural events and activities.

We hope that you find this submission of interest.

September 2010