Funding cuts to Oxford arts

19 March 2002, United Kingdom

England’s Southern Arts Board has recently released a statement criticising proposed cuts in arts funding by Oxford City Council, a move the board says may see secured funding from other sources jeopardised. This proposal raises questions about the success of Oxford’s bid to be European Capital of Culture in 2008 which is due to be launched next week and to which Southern Arts says is, ‘deeply committed.’ Southern Arts believes the funding cuts may also have a wider impact on individual arts organisations and arts infrastructure in the city. Some of the potential projects affected by this recent development, include Oxford Touring Theatre Company, Oxford Playhouse and Pegasus. The organisations have already secured increased funding totaling £585,700 through the Arts Council’s Next Stage program, which Southern Arts asserts, ‘may now be put at risk by a reduction in the City Council’s funding.’ While Southern Arts concedes that financial pressures are an issue for the council, it argues that any potential savings would be difficult to justify, in light of the loss of supplementary funding. Southern Arts is appealing to Oxford City Council to reconsider any proposal to cut the arts budget, removing the threat to the local arts organisations. For further information, visit: