DCMS facing 25 per cent budget cut

Rebecca Atkinson, 22.06.2010
Emergency budget outlines £61bn spending cuts
Government departments face average cuts of 25 per cent over the next four years, chancellor George Osborne announced in his emergency budget today.

In what he described as a “tough but fair” budget, Osborne said the worse-than-expected structural deficit means departmental spending will have to be cut by £61bn by 2014/15 rather than the previous estimate of £44bn.

This means an average real reduction for unprotected departments - including the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) - of 25 per cent.

However, not all departments will receive the same settlement and actual cuts will not be outlined until the spending review on Wednesday 20 October.

Mark Taylor, director of the Museums Association, said: “DCMS needs to take a strategic approach – it can’t salami slice all funding. There are plenty of areas it can cut that aren’t on the frontline and I hope it is ready by October so everyone knows where they stand.”

Tough times

In the first round of spending cuts, unveiled on 24 May, the DCMS saw its budget slashed by £88m, which resulted in a 3 per cent cut for all funded bodies this financial year and a 4 per cent cut for Arts Council England (ACE).

Last week, the secretary of state for culture, Olympics, media and sport, Jeremy Hunt, revealed further savings of around £73m, made by cancelling projects such as the British Film Institute’s new film centre, the Find Your Talent programme and the Stonehenge visitor centre.

Also last week, ACE slashed grants to its two highest-funded organisations not directly producing art, Creativity Culture and Education (CCE) and Arts & Business, by £1.6m and £0.16m respectively, and postponed its major public engagement project and cutting audience development plans.

Dame Liz Forgan, chairwoman of ACE, said it would have had to pass on a 3 per cent cut to all its funded organisations if it hadn’t been able to use £9m from its £18.4m historic reserves. Instead, these cuts will be limited to 0.5 per cent.

ACE has also returned £7m from its historic reserves to the DCMS, meaning a balance of £2.4m remains in the reserves.

Click here for more details from the budget on the Treasury’s website

(Image: The Gladstone Budget box, Crown Copyright)