Statement on Birmingham City Council funding cuts

We are dismayed that Birmingham, the UK’s second city, will lose almost all its council funding for the arts over the next 2 years. Defunding the arts will harm quality of life, exacerbate inequalities & set back economic recovery. It will only make our problems worse.

Regularly funded arts organisations in Birmingham face 50% cuts this year and 100% cuts next year. That includes City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Birmingham REP Theatre, Birmingham Royal Ballet, IKON Gallery, Birmingham Opera Company, FABRIC, Sampad, Ex Cathedra, Legacy Centre of Excellence & B:Music.

All council funding for culture projects and local arts development is to end. Birmingham Dance Fest will end. Next year Black History Month and Birmingham Heritage Week face 100% cuts. It’s devastating news for a city whose reputation for arts and culture is exceptional.

What’s happening in Birmingham is extreme, but far from an isolated phenomenon. Eight English councils have effectively declared bankruptcy since 2018, more than in the 30 years before that. An increasing number are warning that cost & demand pressures are unsustainable.

In recent years, the biggest change to English councils’ finances has been reduced grants from central government – between 2009/10 and 2019/20 these were cut by 40% in real terms. Councils can’t borrow to fund day-to-day spending, so it has affected their spending power. By 2022/23, councils were spending 35% less per person compared with 2010. But they were spending 48% less per person on culture, heritage and library services.

The arts have been disproportionately affected by pressures on local government funding.

Almost 1 in 5 councils say it’s likely they will go under before the end of this year because of a lack of funding to keep key services running. Leaders in national and local government urgently need to come together to address this crisis, before any more damage is done.

The arts support local communities, the economy and all people to thrive. Local authorities are still the biggest public investors in culture and library services. But without action now to shore up their funding, arts access across the nation is critically at risk.

Picture of CFTA Team

CFTA Team

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3 responses to “Statement on Birmingham City Council funding cuts”

  1. Jenny Daniels says:

    The loss of funding to the arts in general is a disaster for Birmingham. Having lived in the city for twenty years I have witnessed the enormous benefit the arts have had on all sections of the varied communities we have. I have felt proud of the high standards and achievements on music, drama, dance etc. These have not ben ‘the icing on the cake’ but very deep and cultural connections which make the city so vibrant and tolerant. They are the the delicate threads which bind together a rich and exciting tapestry.
    Without the proper funding these wonderful opportunities will fall away. I beg you to re consider the short ad long term effects of this crazy decision.
    It is simply shooting yourselves in the foot…

  2. I read this with sorrow and almost disbelief. The arts are so important. They bring people together, they express joy and grief. They are important to public life and well being. I hope this decision on funding cuts will be reversed.

  3. Carol Brotherton says:

    I have lived in Birmingham all my life and in later years have realised the great arts we have available. Music and art are so vital for our culture and wellbeing, not just for entertainment, they bring people together and give a voice to those who may not otherwise be heard. It is devastating for this city to lose these established groups, orchestras etc. also for the loss of work for performers who are so specialised and will not be able to easily gain alternative employment. Once gone they won’t be resurrected, please reconsider…..

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