Samuel West, who is chair of the National Campaign for the Arts, branded the cuts “horrific” on social media.
He told The Stage: “The arts are now shouting from so many barricades: Covid, education, Brexit, funding, local government. We are spread thinly and getting hoarse. But even among the government’s recent proposals, this one is particularly ill-thought-out and must be opposed. Art is not a hobby and talent can come from anywhere. Affordable music, drama and design courses fund a profitable world-class industry that keeps us sane and civilised.”
West said the cuts would “narrow and eventually choke” the talent pipeline in the industry.
“How can you think that [our] industry is not ’a priority’, unless through some twisted worldview that believes turning out empathetic people who work collectively and are skilled in critical thinking is inimical to your vision? That punitive, philistine agenda is now the only explanation I can think of,” he added.