Written evidence submitted by Newcastle
City Council (arts 47)
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?
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:
This depends on the scale of future reductions.
But government needs to be mindful that reductions in its funding
of the sector will also be mirrored by reductions in funding from
local government. Unless central government protects the sector
and makes a smaller percentage cut, these organisations, and the
sector as a whole face, significant budget reductions from two
The national arts budget is relatively small
compared with many other countriesit amounts to the equivalent
of 17p a week per person. In return we have world-class arts and
artists, a sector that gives the UK an international edge as a
creative place to live, work and do business and a sector that
is a big job creator and regenerator of cities and communitiesand
the Newcastle area is one of the country's best examples.
What arts organisations can do to
work more closely together in order to reduce duplication of effort
and to make economies of scale:
Voluntary sector organisations must make every
effort to share bureaucracy and "back office" costs
to achieve maximum efficiency and protect programme and delivery.
ACE should consider additional support programmes such as the
recent "Thrive" and perhaps consider an "Invest
to Save" scheme for those organisations keen to take a more
creative approach to finding efficiencies.
What level of public subsidy for the
arts and heritage is necessary and sustainable:
There are many examples of Arts activity, and
associated education and outreach programmes, which are not sustainable
through income generation and philanthropy. Work with disadvantaged
groups of people, the scope to experiment with art forms, and
the attraction of new audiences all require subsidy. Mainstream
provision, and the support of the truly transformed cultural infrastructure
also require subsidy if the cultural life of cities, towns and
other communities is not to be decimated in the new future.
Investment in museums through the Renaissance
programme and other funding has led to unprecedented levels of
people engaging with museums, an increase in visitor numbers and
more diverse audience for museums. It has also changed the nature
of engagement with museums from a passive visit to a positive
experience which contributes to learning and personal development
and to health and wellbeing, with individual benefits also being
realised at community level. Conversely a reduction in investment
will threaten this. Whilst some the legacy of what museums have
achieved will last for a short while, its effect will be limited
if activities and programmes cannot be sustained. Museums provide
good value for the investment made by the public sector but reductions
in funding could disproportionately impact on outputs and outcomes.
Renaissance and related museum activities have not only helped
to change lives but have also had strong economic benefits, in
particular supporting tourism, and have significantly developed
opportunities for and the contribution made by volunteers as well
as really working to engage people with their museums through
consultation, coproduction and involvement of communities in programming
Whether the current system, and structure,
of funding distribution is the right one
Funding should be delivered with reduced, and
the very minimum of bureaucracy, and should be granted for a reasonable
period of time (at least two to three years). There should also
be sufficient notice (at least six months) as programmes come
to an end with a clear indication of future programmes. This is
important for the sector as a whole, and crucial for the smaller
organisations within the voluntary sector.
What impact recent changes to the
distribution of National Lottery funds will have on arts and heritage
The changes to both the Heritage Lottery and
Arts Lottery will be beneficial for the sector, supporting both
smaller grants and some larger grants. Although many organisations
have had significant capital investment there are still a number
of capital projects which ,with lottery and other investment,
could produce significant benefits for jobs, for tourism, for
lifelong learning and for quality of life.
Whether the policy guidelines for
National Lottery funding need to be reviewed:
The City Council is pleased to see that the national
Lottery will be restored to its original distribution proportions.
Both in the north east and nationally the proven benefits of significant
arts, sport and heritage initiatives supported by the lottery
indicate just what these sectors can achieve.
We feel that it is important that the ongoing
policy reflects both the reduced availability of capital funding
and current challenges to revenue funding. Whilst many cultural
buildings have been re-energized through lottery funding and have
delivered benefits in terms of tourism, jobs created and learning
outcomes, there are significant museums, galleries and other cultural
facilities which have the potential to significantly increase
their contribution to the local economy and society with investment
in capital infrastructure.
The lottery has also supported ground breaking
revenue projects both at community and wider level. As the lottery
distributors have now established themselves successfully and
developed strong policy bases it seems appropriate to allow them
to shape programmes more effectively and where they can identify
gaps or needs to target activity and, where appropriate, to solicit
We would welcome the opportunity for the whole
sector (for example public libraries) to become eligible for both
revenue and capital lottery funding.
It is also hoped that in future there can be
a more joined up approach between lottery distributors. For example
projects involving historic and contemporary art may require joint
funding applications to Arts and Heritage lotteriestoo
date these have been difficult to facilitate
The impact of recent changes to DCMS
arm's-length bodiesin particular the abolition of the UK
Film Council and the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council:
It is difficult to properly respond to this question
when so little is known about successor arrangements, and there
appears to be so little open discussion about the future. A more
transparent and inclusive debate about future arrangements would
Museums, Libraries and Archives Council : MLA
The national work and programming by MLA will
presumably be transferred to whichever organisation takes over
The work of the MLA in the regions must not be
overlooked. MLA-North East, for example, provides a local context
for national initiatives and also supports regional working through
projects like the North East Accessible Library Information Service
(NEALIS) for blind and visually impaired people. They have commissioned
significant local research into Information, Advice and Guidance
(IAG) etc., and most recently they have supported local library
services with some revisioning of library services.
MLA have been effective locally acting as advocates
for library services particularly to Chief Executives who, in
some authorities, are not easily contactable by the heads of service
(not the case in Newcastle). The libraries modernisation programme
is a good example of regional MLAs delivering a nationally agreed
It is important that whatever replaces MLA still
has a regional function, and can provide dynamic leadership for
the museums, libraries and archives sector.
It is also very important that the museum development
function continues to be delivered to support regional museum.
In the North East this works successfully with the Museum Development
Officer working within the regional Renaissance team and working
closely alongside MLA officers.
We are concerned about how the regional work
of UK Film Council organizations will be managed in the future
what regional input there will be. The north east has been well
served by Northern Film and media, and we are concerned that these
benefits will be lost.
The loss of regional control of the Arts Council
as it became part of a national body was an earlier blow, as was
the abolition, also by the previous government, of Culture North
East. The strength of culture in the region, and its transformational
effect, was largely down to inspirational leaders and strong cultural
institutions, with a wide base of support among all sectors in
the region. Care must be taken about further dismantling of this
Whether businesses and philanthropists
can play a long-term role in funding arts at a national and local
Philanthropy, and the opportunity to develop
it for the sector is not consistent across the country. In the
North East ,for example, there is a comparative shortfall in the
number of high net worth individuals with disposable assets (amongst
the wealthier people much investment is tied up in fixed assets)
and of head offices or large regional firms where the decision
on sponsorship is made locally. This significantly reduces our
ability for this type of fundraising. It is particularly difficult
to develop philanthropic funding to support revenue costs.
Whether there need to be more Government
incentives to encourage private donations.
Increased tax incentives focused on encouraging
philanthropy in this area would be welcome. Specific government
initiatives to support the engagement of businesses with culture
are also important. It is important that this work goes beyond
the "easy win" of encouraging business, for example,
to hire paintings for board room walls. Valuable as that is, there
is much more that business and culture have to offer to each other.