Matthew Hemley of The Stage reports that Bath and the North East Somerset Council has approved a 100 percent cut to all arts funding within their budget. Equity, the UK trade union for actors and other creative professionals, has asked the conservative party’s Karen Bradley, the UK’s minister of culture, to intervene in the decision.
Grants provide theater companies up to about $6,200 annually. The council calculates that halting funding would save them nearly $540,000 by the year 2020. Equity is worried that Bristol’s city council will make similar cuts. Stephen Spence, Equity’s general deputy secretary, said, “The council has committed an act of cultural vandalism in Bath that will result in a new dark age for arts and culture in the region.”
A government spokeswoman, responding to calls made by Equity, said, “One of the best investments we can make as a nation is in our arts and museums. That is why the government has protected funding for National Museums to ensure they remain free to enter, and between 2015 and 2018 Arts Council England will invest approximately $1.9 billion of government and National Lottery funding,”
Performer Les Dennis said, “Our children should be encouraged to embrace the arts to develop their cultural outlook. If the arts aren't funded they won't be able to. We ignore its importance at our peril.”