National Campaign for the Arts warns of risks to the sector as it publishes the new edition of its Arts Index

Today the National Campaign for the Arts publishes the third edition of its Arts Index, a snapshot report of the health of England’s arts and culture provision.

The 2007–2016 Index pulls together data from a multitude of sources and compares year on year figures for 20 key indicators (from public participation to West End revenues).

We published the last edition of the Arts Index in 2013 and now we can see further trends in areas such as public and private investment, arts education and public support for spending in the arts.

This report gives the evidence needed to form robust arguments for investment in the arts.

The overall Index shows a small rise in the two years since the last Index was published. This recent improvement has been fueled largely by increases in philanthropic giving and arts funding from the national lottery.  There have been substantial falls to arts sponsorship, local government funding and public support of arts funding through taxes in the same recent period.

The NCA’s Chair Samuel West commented:

‘It’s fantastic to see how well the arts are performing for the nation in England.  Despite massive cuts to local and national government funding since 2010, high levels of attendance and participation have generally been maintained and the arts contribution to national employment and GVA has risen.

The ratio of combined public funding to income earned by arts organisations has shifted dramatically during this period. The arts sector is now far less reliant on public funding and far more reliant on earning money from the public, principally through ticket sales. Studies show the average price paid for tickets has risen well above inflation in recent years. It’s great that many people are prepared to pay more, but the NCA believes everyone deserves affordable access to arts and culture, no matter how much money they have. “Gentrification” is a problem in the arts, and the removal of huge sums of public money from the system is making the problem worse.

The coming years are going to be challenging for the arts. Few in the arts community have been vocal about the opportunities of Brexit, and many have expressed concerns about its potential impact on arts practitioners and audiences. Pressures on the public purse look set to continue and now we are beginning to see that national lottery income can go down as well as up.’

You can download the Arts Index here.

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