Birmingham City Council is asking local residents “what matters most”, before proposals are drawn up to implement around £300 million of cuts over the next two years.
The council issued a ‘Section 114 notice’ in September, notifying the government that it will not be able to balance its budget for this financial year. The Institute for Government has said that “while there were specific issues in Birmingham, its Section 114 comes after more than a decade of squeezed budgets”.1
There is significant concern about what this could mean for the future of the city’s arts and cultural services. Nottingham City Council, which also issued a Section 114 notice last year, is proposing a 100% cut to culture funding. Historic England, Arts Council England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund have written a joint letter, urging that Birmingham’s culture is “preserved and prioritised”.2
We want to see the arts supported alongside, rather than pitted against, other services. Investing in culture helps in a range of other areas, from mental health to youth services, adult education to support for older people.
But time and again, the arts are seen as a luxury add-on, rather than an essential part of the solution. If you’d like to take this opportunity to tell Birmingham City Council that the arts and culture matter to you, please submit a high priority ranking for:
- Cultural facilities
- Library services
- Major public events
The deadline for responses is Wednesday 17 January 2024.
While the results of the public consultation are not binding, the council has said that it “will help to inform ongoing decisions and provide extra citizen insight” 3.
- Birmingham’s budget woes should be a warning to government – or other councils could follow suit, Institute for Government
- Arts groups urge bankrupt Birmingham not to sell its heritage, The Guardian
- Report to Cabinet, Birmingham City Council, p17