The Spending Review and Autumn Statement set out to Parliament

The Spending Review and Autumn Statement was set out to Parliament yesterday by the chancellor George Osbourne.

Osborne announced that Arts Council England is set to receive a cash terms increase, describing the arts sector as ‘one of the best investments we can make as a nation’. He stated ‘Deep cuts in the small budget of the Department of Culture, Media and Sport are a false economy. Its core administration budget will fall by 20% but I am increasing the cash that will go to the Arts Council, our national museums and galleries.’

Deborah Annetts, Chief Executive of the Incorporated Society of Musicians, said:

‘After the Chancellors’ spending review today, we are delighted that Arts Council’s budget has been protected. The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, John Whittingdale and Government Minister Ed Vaizey have done a fantastic job of standing up for the creative industries and the creative profession in the United Kingdom; the creative industries and creative professions are worth £76.9 billion per year to the UK economy and we welcome the Chancellor's recognition of their important role.

A further £4.1 billion funding cut to local authorities (source), coupled with a cut in education support service of £600m will also have a knock-on impact on music, arts venues and education services, with schools and colleges expecting a real terms cut in funding (source).

Deborah added:

‘There is no doubt that the cuts to Local Authority funding from central Government will impact the level of funding for regional arts provision. There are already reports of venues coming under threat of closure because of local authorities being unable to meet their statutory obligations let alone their discretionary cultural funding activities. This could have dire consequences for our regional cultural provision.’

However there is concern over point 1.169 The Spending Review and Autumn Statement provides investment of over £1.3 billion up to 2019-20 to attract new teachers into the profession, particularly into Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects and to deliver the English Baccalaureate (EBacc), to raise educational standards for young people.

Deborah added:

‘George Osborne is absolutely right to say that 'one of the best investments we can make as a nation is in our extraordinary arts, museums, heritage, media and sport.’ and that ‘deep cuts in the small budget would be a false economy.’ We are therefore troubled by plans to continue with the unevidenced and deeply damaging EBacc proposal which excludes creative subjects and creative industry skills from our secondary schools.

‘These mixed messages must be sorted out, and creative subject given equal value in our schools.

‘The Government have proved their commitment to music education before, committing £75m to support music education hubs in 2015/16 (an increase of £18m) and we hope that this commitment will continue.’