According to recent data published by Black Country MP Tom Watson, the West Midlands has suffered the biggest slash in funding in the country. In particular, spending on culture, heritage and arts has dropped by £24 million in the last six years.
Local authorities were the ones to make the cuts, however the Labour party has pinned the blame on the central government for making huge cuts in the grants given to such local authorities. Birmingham City Council has made plans to save a further £250 million over the course of the next four years.
The results of these cuts will see less or lesser quality museums, theatres, art galleries, community art projects, cultural and art organisations and other similar institutions.
Things on the creative front look even bleaker given the Brexit vote will have the UK move out of the EU and as such, lose access to an EU grant scheme known as the Creative Europe Programme. This programme has been the backbone of 230 UK cultural and creative organisations as well as audiovisual institutions. It has also supported the distribution of 84 UK movies to European countries.
Tom Watson said: “The UK’s rich artistic and cultural heritage is the envy of the world and something everyone in this country can be proud of.
“While Labour made the landmark decision to make our national museums to the public free of charge, opening up access to millions, new figures we’ve obtained have shown that arts and culture funding has been cut by £165 million since the Tories came to power with local councils and arts organisations now set to lose out on millions more when we leave the EU.
“If the Government is going to make a success of Brexit and create a ‘country that works for everyone’ it must create a country that works for the arts too. But right now we’ve got a Government that’s slashing arts funding and sidelining them from the Brexit top table.
“Culture and the arts are too important to this country and its soft power to neglect them like this – the Government needs to tell us what more they are going to do.”
However a government source told the Birmingham Post that: “This Government is committed to supporting the UK’s world-class arts and culture, which is why we are investing £1.1 billion through Arts Council England between 2015 and 2018.”