Lo says further squeezing of arts funding will weaken sector

Alliance MLA Anna Lo has said “further squeezing” of public arts funding will dangerously weaken the sector.

The South Belfast MLA was speaking after the Arts Council told a number of local arts organisations to plan for in-year cuts of up to 10 per cent to their budgets. Affected groups include the Ulster Orchestra, Grand Opera House, the MAC and Lyric Theatre.

The organisations currently receive core funding from the Arts Council’s reserve funding stream, which the organisation gets directly from the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure, however, as the money is paid in stages, each group may not now receive its full allocation.

“The arts allow us to develop creativity among our society – there is a wide body of evidence that shows investment in this sector has significant benefits, both for personal well-being and for our economy,” said Ms Lo.

“Now some of the organisations who help bring the arts to the public are facing major cuts and possible staff losses. The arts have a relatively small budget compared to many other sectors and it brings many profits.

“Northern Ireland already has the lowest rate of public funding in the UK and Republic of Ireland. Further squeezing will weaken the sector even more, to dangerous levels.”

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