Chancellor George Osborne has promised to increase funding to Arts Council England and national museums and galleries in his Spending Review.
The Department for Culture Media and Sport’s (DCMS) overall budget is to be cut by 5% – far less than some feared.
As part of that, the department’s administration costs will be slashed by 20%.
But there were concerns over the future of museums, galleries and theatres that rely on funding from local councils.
Mr Osborne told the House of Commons that the Arts Council and the UK’s national museums and galleries will get a cash increase between now and 2020.
National museums will also remain free to enter and he promised to “look at” a new tax credit for museum exhibitions.
“Deep cuts” to the department would be a “false economy”, Mr Osborne said, telling the House of Commons that £1bn a year in grants adds £250bn to the economy.
“One of the best investments we can make as a nation is in our extraordinary arts, museums, heritage, media and sport,” he said.
‘A good deal’
Arts Council England gives annual funding to almost 700 theatres, galleries, dance, opera and ballet companies and other cultural organisations.
As well as Arts Council England, the DCMS funds national museums and galleries including the Tate, National Gallery and British Museum, plus institutions like the British Library and British Film Institute.
Many in the arts had been braced for a deeper funding reduction. Fiona Gasper, executive director of the Royal Exchange theatre in Manchester, spoke for many in the arts when she said she was “relieved”.
She said: “I don’t think anybody expected that the Arts Council would not get a cut. The figures that were being bandied around were 25% to 40%. So we were all braced for something that would have significant impact.
“I’m really quite delighted and an awful lot of work has gone into trying to make the case that it’s not worth cutting us because actually we’re quite a good deal for the small amount that goes into us.”
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