Advocacy Guide: Making the case for the Arts
The Northern Ireland Executive is planning to make substantial cuts to government spending during the next Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) 2011-2015. One scenario presented by the Department of Culture Arts and Leisure (DCAL) to the CAL Committee (Sept 2010), reduced the Arts Council’s and Sport NI’s budgets by a disproportionate 20% compared to other elements in the DCAL family. Moreover, the cuts to arts funding are front-loaded within the first year 2011-2012, and with new arts facilities coming on-stream such as the MAC and the Lyric Theatre, the Arts Council has calculated that cuts, under this scenario, are more likely to be closer to 25%.
DCAL's forecast represents only one possible scenario and the Northern Ireland Executive has yet to produce its draft Budget for NI. We do know that the Chancellor’s recent announcement, which amounts to a round figure reduction to the Departmental Expenditure Limit (current government expenditure) of 7%, will be felt across every government department; in addition, capital investment will fall by 40%. This is why the upcoming period of public consultation (Nov/Dec 2010) on the draft Budget will be a critically important time for arts organisations and artists to ensure their voices are heard.
In conclusion, the Arts Council is very concerned that, not only are the Arts potentially shouldering a greater burden than others, but also, that burden appears to be front-loaded with the biggest reductions occurring in year 1 (2011-12). This guide is to help your organisation make a persuasive case that funding for the arts sector should be fair and any cuts should be proportionate to the cuts in the NI block grant. Also this guide can help you to indicate how the arts are of value to society and the wider economy. Please let us know if you have any feedback about this guide.