Arts community must prove 'economic impact' or face funding cuts
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Maria Miller, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, will today ask for help from arts organisations around the country in preventing potentially devastating cuts to the arts sector. The secretary will be making her first big speech on the arts, and is expected to call for arts groups to focus on presenting their “economic case” to prevent further funding cuts. The Treasury is cutting £11.5 billion of spending for 2015/16, and the arts are expected to be one of the worst hit areas unless they can demonstrate how they benefit the country economically, not just socially. Speaking at the British Museum to the assembled leaders of the country’s art and culture community, Mrs Miller will be fighting for a united front between herself and arts organisations, in order to present a clearer case to the Government. But she believes that it will be difficult to convince her cabinet colleagues without hard work from the sector. She is expected to say: “I know this will not be to everyone’s taste but in an age of austerity, when times are tough and money is tight, our focus must be on culture’s economic impact.” It is hoped the speech will galvanise some areas of the community into action. Only “participants – not bystanders” will be spared cuts. Previous funding cuts have already affected the arts sector, with regional theatre being one of the worst hit areas.
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