Cultural Learning Alliance

From our first consciousness until our last, we should sing every song and dance every dance from every part of the world as we go on our journey to become the men and women we are

David Lan
Artistic Director, Young Vic


Comprehensive Spending Review: impact so far

Published 16 November 2010

Last month we published some key headlines related to the Comprehensive Spending Review . In the intervening weeks, departments, local authorities, schools and cultural organisations have started to respond to their allocations and make decisions about the next three years. Colleagues from across the sector have been getting in touch to tell us how their projects and organisations are affected and we have collated some of their early experiences in this blog.

We know there are many more examples, and urge signatories to respond to this post or drop us a line at to help us build a comprehensive national picture.

Somerset Council this week made a decision to cut 100% of its funding to the cultural sector. This budget represented less than 0.0004% of the council’s total spend, but will impact heavily on ten cultural organisations. In other, similar, news, Central Bedfordshire council have announced plans to cut funding to their Youth Music Service to zero by April 2012. There is campaign underway to save the service here.

A quick glance at local authority websites across the country reveals plans in place for similar incisions across the UK, with Moray Council in Scotland consulting on whether to cut their entire arts development service, and the Northern Echo reporting that Darlington plans to stop funds to arts centres and reduce subsidy to libraries by a quarter. The CLA is deeply concerned by these reports. The impact that small cuts will make on the children, young people, families, artists and cultural practitioners in these areas could be very deep and long-lasting. We urge decision makers to look at the extensive evidence which shows the impact the arts and culture make on communities, and the contribution they make to range of educational and social outcomes.  Even where some cultural funding is set to remain, many cultural organisations are informing us that their service level agreements (SLAs) with local authorities are being re-negotiated, with more organisations competing for fewer funds.

In our original posting on the Comprehensive Spending Review we didn’t cover the impact of plans for the Higher Education (HE) sector. It has been reported that subsidy for courses in the arts and humanities subjects has been withdrawn, with universities expected to fund these areas through tuition fees alone. Read more here. We are aware that conversations about the future delivery of arts and humanities courses across the country are currently taking place.

Many of our higher education partners offer world-class opportunities which support and develop our leaders in the field of cultural learning. It is absolutely critical that learners across all backgrounds and of all economic circumstances are able to access routes into the cultural and learning sectors.

Although direct grants to schools have been ring-fenced, reports are reaching the CLA that any broader funding for resources like Advanced Skills Teachers for arts subjects is disappearing. We urge partners to get in touch to tell us of campaigns, support and new innovative ideas that are springing up in response this news.


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