Daily Update: The effects of National Portfolio cuts

Almost a year ago to the day, Cause4 waited with baited breathe to hear the news from the Arts Council National Portfolio cuts. One year on, the inevitable impact is starting to come to light. Weekly performing arts magazine The Stage has conducted new research surveying the 206 cultural organisations that lost their regular Arts Council England funding last year (a combined total annual loss of £19.1m).

Of the 151 responses received, the key findings were as follows:

  • more than one in ten would be closing as result of the funding loss;
  • 22% described themselves as ‘at risk of closing’;
  • 46% said their organisation was ‘just surviving’;
  • 36% of dance organisations are closing – not one respondent from the dance sector described themselves as financially healthy;
  • many respondents indicated that staff redundancies had been essential to survive.

In addition, many respondents implied that losing ACE funding had a knock on affect in their ability to generate funding from alternative sources, given that ACE support is considered to be ‘a benchmark of a well-run organisation’.

It goes without saying that the survey uncovers some very upsetting news for the arts sector. However, as Alan Davey (Chief Executive, Arts Council England) states, ACE was faced with a 30% reduction in its budget and hard decisions had to be made.

It is likely that these results are only the tip of the iceberg as funding reductions in 2012/13 start to sink in. So how can we prevent further closures and increase giving to those organisations effected by the cuts? At Cause4 we see the cuts as an opportunity for a little more resourcefulness and innovation – explore collaboration, diversify income streams and push the boundaries to present distinctive programmes and ‘something new’ to the sector.

There is funding out there so grab the possibilities. We are not suggesting it is easy, but we urge organisations to take a step back and embrace the situation as a means to implement new, innovative funding models. With less dependency on statutory income, this is an exciting chance to develop stronger income streams and secure the future of the sector.

Affected by ACE outcomes? Let us know how your organisation is coping and what measures you are implementing to counteract the cuts…

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