The Cuts (in context)

Financial Situation

Over the summer, the Arts Council of Northern Ireland (ACNI) communicated to some of their clients that their organisations would face in-year funding cuts of 5%.

In early October, the Department of Enterprise Trade and Investment (DETI) announced that the NI Tourist Board’s event fund would be scrapped entirely, endangering large-scale arts and sporting events such as Culture Night Belfast and the Ulster Grand Prix.

Late last month, the NI Assembly announced they face a deficit of £872 million for the coming  year.

10% may be cut from the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL)in 2015 2016 see net current expenditure below.

  2014-15 2015-16
Net Current Expenditure 99.9m 89.9m
Capital Investment * 90.3m 54.1m


And the internal draft DCAL budget for next year looks like this. Budget discussions and consultation responses are continuing through 29th of December.

Business Area 2014-15 Opening Budget £K 2014-15 Draft Budget £K Percent cut %
Department 20.91 18.57 11.19%
Libraries NI 31.82 29.43 7.51%
National Museums NI 12.76 11.33 11.21%
Arts Council NI 12.3 10.93 11.14%
Sport NI 9.27 8.23 11.22%
Other ALBs * 2.93 2.6 11.26%
Languages 5.77 5.13 11.09%
Waterways Ireland 4.19 3.73 10.98%
Total Resource Department 99.95 89.95 10.01%

* Other ALBs include: NI Screen, AIOP an NI


Meeting of Arts Policy Forum (NICVA) – 15 September

The Arts Policy Forum convened a public meeting of members and the wider arts sector to discuss the current and future budget situation. Out of that meeting came a clear agreement that the time had come for the arts sector to act collectively and effectively to argue for our value to Northern Ireland through an independent sustained lobbying and advocacy campaign. The thrust of the agreed proposals from the Arts Policy Forum at NICVA was to seek to develop an inclusive, representative voice, assisted by professional and organisational lobbying, to develop a multi-faceted campaign for increased investment in the arts

To further this mandate, a number of organisations were asked to nominate members for a steering group to investigate options and develop a proposal to which all organisations would be asked to endorse and financially support.

Steering Group Meeting – 13 October

Steering group representatives agreed to:

  • Develop a campaign brief with the following goals:
  • To increase the level of understanding within both the political and public policy arena of the benefits of the arts to better inform future policy and strategy;
  • To prevent and reverse cuts to the exchequer arts budget for 2015/16; and
  • To increase investment in the arts through DCAL, and across other relevant departments, in the next spending review based on equitable per capita spend;
  • Call for expressions of interest from a number of lobbying firms outlining a possible campaign strategy, their experience of working with arts and culture, their lobbying track record and the overall cost; and
  • Select a preferred candidate to bring to the sector to endorse, with an indication of the financial contributions that arts organisations would be asked to make.


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