Funding Arts and Culture in a Time of Austerity

Author(s):*Listed Alphabetically
Harvey A

Year of Publication:

New Local Government Network


Local government has long been one of the country’s strongest supporters of arts and culture. From public libraries to municipal galleries, from music education and arts festivals to public art, councils have been active in our cultural life, long before Whitehall had a department for culture. Even now, collectively, local government is one of the primary funders of arts and cultural activities, with its contribution even higher than that of Arts Council England.

However, that support is in jeopardy. Direct funding from local government to the arts, museums and libraries has been under enormous pressure in recent years as austerity bites, and organisations and services face severe sustainability challenges as a result. In this paper, the New Local Government Network, an independent civic development think tank, sets out recent trends in local government’s funding for arts and culture and the prospects for the near future. Using figures from Arts Council England, a public body dedicated to developing and funding artistic and cultural initiatives across Britain, the report also assesses the impact that these cuts are having on the viability of the sector. It then sets out some ideas for new ways in which local government can continue to support arts and culture, and thus the health and wellbeing of communities, even in straitened times such as these.

Evidence Type: Literature Review

Main Focus: Community Development

Research Purpose: Discussion / Debate

Context: Non-Health Settings

Access Type: Free Download

APA Citation:

Harvey, A. (2016). Funding Arts and Culture in a Time of Austerity. London: New Local Government Network.