Dan Mitchell has an interesting blog post on UK arts funding. He agrees with me that the right level of arts funding is 0. Apparently the UK coalition is proposing massive cuts to arts funding in the UK. Something the Tories in Canada need to consider. Especially when it comes to funding pro terrorist theater.
Should Interpretive Dances about Sexual Abuse of Altar Boys Receive Taxpayer Subsidies?
August 5, 2010 by Dan Mitchell
I may have to rethink my pessimistic assessment of David Cameron. As I’ve noted before, he strikes me as a George-Bush-style big-government faux conservative. But according to this Washington Post article, the coalition government in the UK may impose some real budget cuts (as opposed to phony Washington-type cuts that are just reductions in planned increases) on arts funding. The right level of subsidies for art is zero, of course, so I’m sure I’ll still be disappointed, but if Cameron can do the same thing across the budget and actually shrink the burden of government spending to less than 45 percent of GDP, I may be in a position of having to (cheerfully) admit that I was wrong. Here’s an excerpt from the story.
The art scene exploded in Britain over the past decade…. The fuel for that boom: a surge in generosity from Britain’s single biggest patron of the arts — the government. But now cash-strapped and desperate to slash the largest budget deficit in Europe, the new ruling coalition of Conservatives and Liberal Democrats is moving to close the curtain on an era of what they describe as excessive government patronage. The coalition is preparing to cut arts funding so dramatically that it could sharply reduce or sever the financial lifelines for hundreds of cultural institutions from the National Theatre to the British Museum. The cuts would be more than a temporary fix. Officials are calling for a permanent shift toward the U.S. model of private philanthropy as the main benefactor of the arts… The move underscores the profound changes in the role of government that are taking place from Greece to Spain to Britain. It happens as European nations scramble to rein in runaway spending, in part by slashing public funds to sectors that came to survive — even thrive — because of them. In Britain, public aid to theaters, museums and other institutions jumped from $654 million in 2000 to $876 million this year… the budget cuts to the arts are a small part of a broader push by the coalition government to slash spending and right Britain’s finances over the next four years. …critics say the cuts to arts funding — cultural leaders say they have been warned that reductions could reach 40 percent over four years — appear set to be among the deepest… Large arts institutions in Britain often garner more than 50 percent of their budgets from public funds, compared with roughly 10 percent for major institutions in the United States. That is precisely what the British government says must change. Although the cuts have not yet been detailed, some organizations, including the UK Film Council, are already in the process of being shut down. The government has also demanded major institutions come up with contingency plans for 25 to 30 percent reductions in public funding.