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Latest Research: How much did local authorities spend on the arts & culture

Wednesday 17th June 2015 at 9am 0 Comments Arts & Disability , Arts & Health , Arts and Older People , Circus & Carnival Arts , Community Arts , Craft , Dance , Drama , Intercultural Arts , International Arts , Language Arts , Literature , Northern Ireland Music , Public Art , Traditional Arts , Visual Arts , Voluntary Arts , Youth Arts


The Arts Council of Northern Ireland today (June 17th) published a summary of key findings from a survey of local Council’s expenditure on culture and related services. 

Results relate to the previous local government Council structures across Northern Ireland and give readers an overview of trends in income and expenditure since 2006/07.

Key findings include the good news that overall, since 2006/07, expenditure on culture and related services had increased by 43%. However, overall, this expenditure comprised just 6.48% of Councils’ operating costs in 2013/14 and represented an even smaller proportion of operating costs for Councils outside Derry and Belfast, at just 3.26%. 

The report references the fact that we must wait until 2016 to see the eleven new Super Councils’ expenditure baselines. Given that arts and culture are increasingly viewed by local authorities as important tools of engagement within new community planning processes, the 2016 figures may help identify if Councils are spending enough on arts and culture. Interesting times ahead then!



1. The data analysed in this report was provided by Department of Environment (Local Planning Division) and includes audited figures for each of the years described. Completed figures are authorised by Chief Financial Officer before being returned to the Department.

2. Expenditure described does not relate solely to that distributed via revenue streams, including a range of costs including depreciation, impaired losses and support service overheads.  As a result, no reliable direct comparisons with revenue funding received by the Arts Council from central government can be made.

3. In a number of cases, it has been necessary to exclude extreme responses in order to ensure that trends displayed are accurate.  These responses were verified as correct but were extreme enough to obscure the trends for the portfolio as a whole.  In the majority of cases, these outliers related to impairment charges made following the revaluation of capital assets.

4. For further information please contact the Policy and Research Team on 028 90385 243 or contact Graeme Stevenson at:


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