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Help us make the case for the arts

A simple way to make your voice heard against proposed cuts.

By Sally O'Neill (Chief Operating Officer)

12 June 2013 at 2.43pm | 10 Comments

There has been a lot of comment in the press over the past couple of months about further cuts to the arts and culture as part of the overall Comprehensive Spending Review.  These have obviously caused widespread concern for us all.  Leaders of organisations big and small have been talking about other benefits of the sector: jobs created, revenue generated, and the contribution to children's education as well as the art and culture itself. This might all seem quite abstract, but if the review goes ahead with the proposed cuts you will see dramatic changes to the arts and culture in the UK.

See the Arts Council's Arts and Culture Economy infographic

We might want to make the argument on the beauty of the art forms and the importance of culture to everyday life, but let's just bring this back to the balance sheet and the supposed purpose of the current spending review: economics.

Whether or not you personally value visual arts, theatre, opera, cinema or dance, it makes no logical sense to cut funding for the arts when the sector generates revenue. Simple as that.

Despite the already severe cuts to the Department for Culture Media and Sport, and the Arts Council, it seems that we are facing more of the same unless we take action. Arts organisations like ourselves have been making the case.  But MPs listen to constituents, and we have the rest of this week to influence political opinion.

What can we do to protect the arts?

Below, you will find a template of a message that you can use to contact your MP. If you would like to voice your concern about proposed cuts to the arts and culture, amend as you see fit and use the website They Work For You to send the message.

If you have taken part in any of our special events, such as Student Standby performances, Chance to Dance, Thurrock Community Chorus, Schools Matinees please do mention these too.

 

Dear_______

I have been saddened to hear about the proposed cuts to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport as part of the Comprehensive Spending Review.

Over and above the economic argument that the arts sector in the UK contributes £4 billion to the national economy and creates 694,700 jobs, I would be very troubled to see our country's cultural strength undermined in this way.

I am a regular visitor to museums, galleries, theatres and other cultural spaces in the UK and would like to urge you not to agree to a cut that will threaten the future of artists and arts organisations of all sizes.

Yours sincerely

 

Thanks you for taking the time to read this. If you decide to help us make the case for the arts, additional thanks.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ujBAjCcEXt4

Read a selection of your thoughts about why #CultureMatters

This article has 10 comments

  1. Robin Smith responded on 12 June 2013 at 6:27pm Reply

    Can that "£67 million is generated each year from musical theatre and classical music sales to London tourists" actually be correct ? It must be higher than this. Define "London Tourists". Define the types of sales included in this figure.

    • Ellen West (Head of Online Content) responded on 12 June 2013 at 6:51pm

      Hi Robin

      The figures come from the Arts Council. You can find their full set of figures here, and can ask them directly about how they were arrived at:

      http://www.artscouncil.org.uk/what-we-do/advocacy/

      Best wishes

      Ellen

    • Robin Smith responded on 12 June 2013 at 8:27pm

      For some reason I can't reply to Ellen directly but I have raised my query with the Arts Council. I will post their response.

    • Ellen West (Head of Online Content) responded on 12 June 2013 at 9:34pm

      Thank you Robin.

      Ellen

    • Robin Smith responded on 26 June 2013 at 7:29pm

      The Arts Council have just confirmed that "London visitors" refers to overseas visitors only and sales refers to ticket sales only. They have also sent me a copy of the detailed report backing this up which bases it's figures on a whole heap (as you would probably expect) of data some of which are estimates and some of which are broad assumptions.

      Just over £8 million (of the £67 million quoted in the statistic) refers to classical music, opera and ballet.

  2. Alan Fairs responded on 12 June 2013 at 7:12pm Reply

    Oh dear ! How long have I got ??? The economic case for the arts goes (or may go) very far beyond whatever is meant by 'contributing £4 billion to the economy, and providing 694,700 jobs. These statistics are not persuasive given that both are dependent on public subsidy anyway.
    The UK has sustained a large and growing (to the point of being catastrophic) deficit in the current account of its balance of payments since 1983, which means that since then, the UK has been living beyond its means. Our pattern of trade has even deteriorated to the point where we are paying for our imports of cheap manufactures, like our tellies, by selling off our companies!
    Attention should be focused on the arts' foreign currency-earning record, and its potential for earning more in foreign markets, which, I would guess, is extremely substantial, given our excellent standards.
    There is simply no point in pointing to the amount of employment in the arts. If the government had decided to subsidise cartwheel-making craftsmen, there would still be many earning their living from that activity, but that does not justify continuing the subsidy.
    Get a firm of research economists to examine the balance of payments implications of strangling the arts, or, conversely, of helping them to flourish. We have lost out to Far-Eastern competition in many industries, but not yet, I believe, in the arts.
    We need to promote activities ion which we retain a comparative advantage.

  3. Stephen Diviani responded on 12 June 2013 at 10:35pm Reply

    I have just written to my MP, so thank you for your post. It's worth stressing that it is not only 'popular' culture that generates income. A couple of friends came over from France specifically to see 'Written on Skin' for which they booked tickets, they booked a hotel, went to ENO, dined out and went shopping. And then returned home to France. Can't be bad for our economy. Just two visitors of the many.

  4. Stephen Cutler responded on 12 June 2013 at 10:40pm Reply

    Perhaps your press office could have a word with The Guardian, who published this photo of the ROH on their website today

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/culture/2013/jun/12/arts-groups-face-loss-funding

    showing an ROH audience all dressed up in evening dress, which must have been dragged up from many years ago. It's totally misleading as far as today's audience is concerned, and creates exactly the sort of elite toff image that is completely unwarranted and very harmful.

    • Ellen West (Head of Online Content) responded on 12 June 2013 at 11:45pm

      Thanks for flagging Steve. The audience looks very different from the one that just attended tonight's Mayerling!

      Best wishes

      Ellen

  5. Jane Margeson responded on 12 June 2013 at 11:19pm Reply

    Its so important to keep the arts thriving in this country. Do we really want to become a cultural desert? We need to allow our children to inherit the great artistic legacy which has made our country what it is.

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