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Lottery cash spares English arts groups from big cuts

Alan Davey, chief executive of Arts Council England. Photograph: Eamonn McCabe for the Guardian

Alan Davey, chief executive of Arts Council England. Photograph: Eamonn McCabe for the Guardian

Public money available to England’s arts organisations in 2015 will fall by 2.24% – far less than expected because it includes a substantial increase in lottery cash that will, for the first time, be used as regular funding.

The application process to be part of Arts Council England‘s national portfolio in 2015-18 opened at noon on Tuesday.

Organisations from big opera houses to small theatres now have 10 weeks to apply for the money from a £334m pot that will be available in 2015.

The organisation’s chief executive, Alan Davey, said they recognised « that these remain austere times. » He added: « We must continue to invest in a way that ensures a healthy cultural ecology all over the country.

« We must keep the sector resilient and ensure art and culture retain their central place in this country’s way of life, and continue to enhance the quality of life for all. »

ACE is managing to avoid dramatic reductions because of a big increase in lottery money which had previously been diverted from the arts to the Olympics.

It will now go directly to fund arts organisations, a move that represents a big change of approach.

For example in 2014/15, £327.5m grant in aid went to arts organisations and £28.3m lottery money went to touring and children and young people projects.

In 2015/16 there will be a total budget of £334m – that includes a dramatically reduced £271m of grant in aid and £62.5m lottery money.

ACE acknowledges that some arts organisations will be funded totally by the lottery and some by grant in aid.

The question is whether that breaches the « additionality principle » established in 1992 which says lottery money has to be for things which would not happen without the additional support. ACE says it does not believe the principle is breached.

Davey said there had been an ongoing debate as to what the principle is and how to test it.

« We have listened to the current debate and we are confident that the approach we’re taking does not breach the additionality principle.

« The biggest proportion of our portfolio funding will still come from grant in aid. In using lottery funds to support additional activity, we believe we adhere to the principle that government funding should be maintained and is an essential part of a mixed funding model. »

In opening the application process, arts organisations were warned that funding can only be confirmed for 2015/16 with the following two years dependent on the settlement reached with government.

Source : The Guardian

Filed under: Analyses, Expériences, Financement de projet, Gouvernances, Politiques culturelles, , ,

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