(Wednesday 5th August) DCAL Minister Carál Ní Chuilín has clarified the position regarding funding to the Arts Council NI.
Addressing media reports that the Minister asked the Council to plan for budget reductions, the Minister said:
“I want to make it clear that I have not reduced the Arts Council’s budget and did not ask the Council to reduce the budgets of those organisations to which it provides grant funding.
“I do however recognise that the Council is considering options for achieving savings and welcome this if it enables us to secure more resources for front-line arts projects that can help to tackle deprivation and promote good relations in the community.
“I would also be happy to discuss with the Arts Council NI ways in which the organisation can achieve further savings, particularly in terms of its overheads.”
The Minister added:
“All service areas across DCAL and its arm’s-length bodies have been affected by budget reductions as a direct result of the year on year erosion of the Block grant by the British Government.
“Despite the challenges presented by this situation, I have no plans to reduce budgets to the organisations funded by my Department.
“My focus is on defending the arts from further Tory cuts.”