Theatre in Wales

Theatre, dance and performance reviews

Government Reduction to Culture of Wales

Governance of Arts Organisations

Financial Announcements: Timeline Winter 2023-2024 , Government, Senedd, Scotland, Arts Organisations of Wales , January 18, 2024
Governance of Arts Organisations by Financial Announcements: Timeline Winter 2023-2024 [A guide to the sequence on governance in the arts can be read on the first link below.]

The illustration is from a press report citing Senedd Member Tom Giffard.

A timeline of events runs:

27th September 2023

The Arts Council of Wales announced its allocations of £29.6M after many months of work.

The recipients for the next period can be read at:

https://arts.wales/sites/default/files/2023-09/Investment_Review_2023_Report_and_Decisions%5B1%5D.pdf

* * * *

15th October 2023

The Culture, Communications, Welsh Language, Sport, and International Relations Committee published a report “Behind the scenes: The creative industries workforce.”

It is weakly written, lacking in insight and analytical rigour. In language, style and quality the Civil Service under Welsh Government management is now in full divergence from its counter-part in London.

The report uses casual and colloquial language. Plural nouns are followed by singular verbs and vice versa. Sentences occur without verbs, Words are omitted. Apostrophes are inserted before an “s” where the word is a plain plural.

Recommendation 11 reads:

“The Welsh Government should urgently undertake an assessment of the financial health of arts venues in Wales in collaboration with the Arts Council of Wales, the Music Venues Trust and other suitable organisations. This assessment should be completed before the next financial year in order to allow for any further support to be provided if required.”

* * * *

19th December 2023

The governments of Wales and Scotland announced their draft budgets for 2024/2025. In Scotland Finance Secretary Shona Robison spoke in Holyrood. In Wales it was announced outside the legislature, the Senedd not being in session.

In Scotland Pauline McLean, BBC Scotland Arts Correspondent, wrote an immediate 163-word comment. In Wales no BBC arts journalist commented. Ms McLean can be read at :

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/live/uk-scotland-67752031/page/3

In Scotland the leaders of opposition parties were interviewed on the main television news. In Wales a reporter asked a tour guide in Conwy as to her reaction to the budget.

The provisional budget saw funding for arts, culture and sport cut by about 10.5%.

* * * *

20th December 2023

Creative Scotland wrote:

“We welcome the Scottish Government’s Draft Budget for Creative Scotland for 2024/25.

“Our Grant in Aid budget for 2024/25, subject to approval by the Scottish Parliament, will be just over £68m, compared to £55m the current financial year.”

The response can be read at:

Source: https://www.creativescotland.com/news-stories/latest-news/archive/2023/12/scottish-government-draft-budget-202425

* * * *

20th December 2023

The Arts Council of Wales wrote:

“This provisional budget of £30.429m for 2024/25 is the lowest since 2007/08.

“It’s worth noting that approximately 90% of the funding we receive is distributed all over Wales to organisations and creative individuals which means that the impact of the cut will affect communities the length and breadth of the country.

“Wales is a nation that has always valued the arts. We will look at all our costs and prioritise the available funds under this proposed budget for the broader sector and the Investment Review. Whilst one accepts that these are extremely difficult fiscal times for the government, we also need to consider as a nation what we believe to be the right level of funding for the arts and the communities we serve throughout Wales.”

The statement can be read at:

https://arts.wales/news-jobs-opportunities/arts-council-wales-response-welsh-budget

* * * *

20th December 2023

Nation Cymru published a composite article “Deep concern over arts funding cuts in Wales”
and cited arts leaders.”

Michelle Perez, general manager of Theatr Iolo:

“A 10% cut would have a dramatic impact on Theatr Iolo. It would equate to one redundancy of a staff member from our already small core team of five people. Or it would mean at least one of our studio touring shows would have to be cut each year. This reduction in our programme would mean reaching less and less children across the whole of Wales with live theatre and cultural activities, including the children who live in areas of significantly less investment or who are disadvantaged in some way.”

David Wilson of Aberystwyth Arts Centre: “Following a funding standstill outcome from the Investment Review we were already doing all we can to mitigate the impact of the resultant real terms cuts. The news of this further cut is increasingly disheartening for Aberystwyth Arts Centre and for cultural life in mid Wales. If we receive a reduction of 10%, it will take us back to the level of financial support we had in 2007.”

Geinor Styles of Theatr na nÓg: “Our original funding offer was already a cut in real terms. A 10% cut to our funding offer is a 40% cut in reality and will have a devastating impact on our work. Losing another c.£32k means we would need to cut our provision to young people, our Welsh language work or our main scale touring. As a small, producing company we don’t have the resources in-house to go after further funding. If we can’t find the money then the board and senior management will have to make some difficult decisions as to how we continue.”

Creu Cymru: “The culture sector has been in a steady decline for over a decade due to the erosion caused by standstill funding. By taking decisive action on culture spend and investment in its budget for 2024-25, the Welsh Government would ensure its long-term recovery, secure Wales’ place as a cultural world leader and unlock enormous benefits for Wales’s society and economy.

“The Welsh Government has an annual budget of 21bn. The Arts Council of Wales received £33.3m in 2023/24, a 1.5% decrease from the previous year. Cultural spending as a proportion of the Welsh Government Budget represents less than 0.15% of total overall expenditure – one of the lowest in Europe, where the average is 1.5% with some reaching 2.5%.”

Dafydd Rhys of the Arts Council of Wales: “Our current budget is lower than it was in 2010 which means that we have already lost a third of our real-terms funding since then. This significant new cut of 10.5% will make it even more challenging to ensure that high quality arts activity is available across Wales for all of our communities. The invaluable work that we support in arts and health, education, the Welsh language and our work in widening engagement will be affected – all of which are Government priorities. In fact this provisional budget of £30.429m for 2024/25 is the lowest since 2007/08.”

The article can be read at:

https://nation.cymru/news/deep-concern-over-arts-funding-cuts-in-wales/

* * * *

21st December 2023

On Radio 4's “Front Row” Gary Raymond said:

“It's a huge cut. There is so little money in the arts in Wales. If you feel it's bad in England you should come over and try to put a show or publish a book or anything like that in Wales. There is so little money going around in Wales. The arts at the moment is running as close to an amateur sector or semi-professional sector as you can get and still walk around with your head held high.”


* * * *

17th January 2024

Nation Cymru reported on a session of the Culture, Communications, Welsh Language, Sport, and International Relations Committee

“Llŷr Gruffydd raised concerns that the national museum has to arrange rotas around the weather in case they need to remove artwork from the walls due to a leaking roof.

“He said about £90m will be required to bring the Museum Wales estate up to scratch, asking whether current capital allocations are anywhere near enough.

“The short answer is ‘no, they’re not’,” said Ms Bowden. [Welsh Government Minister.]
“She highlighted that an extra £5m was allocated last year and a further £5m for next year to deal with the most immediate repairs.

“Ms Bowden said the extent to which ministers can further support Museum Wales is limited.
“She said: “We’re not running away from the fact we are dealing with old buildings that need significant maintenance and repair, and we do have to protect those national collections.”

“The deputy minister pointed out that the extra capital allocation for the Welsh Government from the UK Chancellor’s autumn statement totalled £5.8m.

“She said: “You can see the level of challenge that that presents if we had to go anywhere near meeting the £9m-a-year bill for the national museum.”

“It’s doing the emergency work and prioritising the emergency work as best we can, yes.”
She stressed that capital budget allocations for arm’s-length bodies have been maintained but ministers have not been able to increase them.”

“Have not been able to” is a false phrase. The verb is “have not increased.”

The report can be read at:

https://nation.cymru/news/entry-fees-considered-for-welsh-museums-amid-critical-financial

Guides to the sequence of commentary on theatre in Wales can be read below 8th, 15th and 22nd September 2021,

Reviewed by: Adam Somerset

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