The Northern Ireland Executive is planning to make substantial cuts to government spending during the next Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) 2011-2015.
One scenario presented by the Department of Culture Arts and Leisure (DCAL) to the CAL Committee, reduced the Arts Council’s and Sport NI’s budgets by a disproportionate 20% compared to other elements in the DCAL family, over the four year period. Moreover, the cuts to arts funding are front-loaded within the first year 2011-2012, and with new arts facilities coming on-stream such as the MAC and the Lyric Theatre, the Arts Council has calculated that the cuts, under this scenario, are more likely to be closer to 25%.
DCAL's forecast represents only one possible scenario, and we won't know precisely what the spending limits on public services will be until the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, has announced details of his spending review in late October and the Northern Ireland Executive has produced its Draft Buget.
In conclusion, the Arts Council is very concerned that, not only are the Arts and Sport potentially shouldering a greater burden, but also, that burden appears to be front-loaded with the biggest reductions occurring in year 1, 2011-12.
Homepage picture credit: Terry Loane, 'A Sign', 1995. Light Box. (Arts Council Collection).