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Possibly 250 libraries will close due to local authority cuts.

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United Kingdom/ 4.2 Specific policy issues and debates  

4.2.1 Conceptual issues of policies for the arts

The Conservative-Liberal Democratic Coalition Government that was established following the General Election of May 2010 has focussed, so far, on the following actions that, inevitably, will impact on the cultural sector:

  • major reductions in public expenditure at national and local level;
  • reductions in the number of cultural "arms-length" agencies and the re-allocation of some of their functions;
  • greater emphasis on attracting more private money for culture by making it easier for individuals and businesses to contribute;
  • giving a greater say to local communities on what services local government should spend its monies on; and
  • the creation of a so-called "Big Society", in which the potential for voluntary action is encouraged.

Reductions in public expenditure

The UK Government's Department for Culture, Media and Sport will lose 25% of its funding over four years, meaning that by 2014/15 it will have GBP 1.1 billion compared with GBP 1.6 billion in 2010/11. During the same period the DCMS grant to Arts Council England will be cut by 29.6% (a real loss of GBP 100 million); so that by 2014/15 its grant will be GBP 350 million, plus "hand-over" funds for assuming responsibilities from the Museums, Libraries & Archives Council, which is to be abolished. Early indications suggest that 100 or more of the organisations the Council supports could lose their grants as a result. Creativity, Culture & Education will lose much if not all of its ACE funding for the major Creative Partnership programme linking artists / arts organisation with schools, while another high profile "client", A & B (Arts & Business) will lose its grant entirely by 2012/13. Although not entirely unexpected, the loss by A & B of its grant seems odd at a time when government is keen to encourage more cultural funding from the private sector. In addition, major financial pressure on local authorities as a result of central government cuts is likely to have a serious impact on local provision - in November 2010, there were indications that some 250 public libraries would be closed.

Chapter published: 15-04-2011

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