Arts Council England’s future in question

Arts Council England’s future in question


norman lebrecht

May 17, 2022

The Public Bodies Review Programme is about to assess all English quangos to see whether ‘they should be abolished or retained.’

If they are allowed to survive, a minimum of 5% savings will be required.

Under the guidelines, assessors will have to decide ‘whether a function should be delivered by the state, or whether an alternative is more fitting.’

This could be curtains for the unloved ACE.


  • sonicsinfonia says:

    Well, of course it had to happen. This government’s antipathy to culture and the arts in the name of diversity and popularity has increasingly interfered in the nature of the ‘arm’s length’ funding principles under which ACE was established. Funding is no longer related to exceptional quality but to quotas. It’s the same ideology that is leading to th dismantling of the BBC. The nation will be impoverished as a result.

  • Elizabeth Owen says:

    There are four Arts Councils in Britain plus the DCMS plus various sports bodies. Far too many, particularly as they are mostly not in the main practitioners but pen pushers.

  • Herbie G says:

    I’d like to think that the roasting it got on SD helped to seal its fate. There’s a paradox though. It says ‘If they are allowed to survive, a minimum of 5% savings will be required.’ If they go under, then there will be a 100 per cent saving – an outstanding and unbeatable result that should easily meet the criterion for their survival!

  • Just saying… says:

    ACE is by no means perfect, though my dealings with them have personally been very positive. That said, I would much rather have an arm’s length body administering public arts funding than directly by this or any other future UK government, especially one which has consistently and openly failed to listen to and consider the lives of musicians and other music professionals.

  • christopher storey says:

    The problem has been that ACE has wanted to be trendy rather than sensible, with the inevitable result being that money has been poured down a variety of valueless drains rather than supporting artistic activities which most ordinary people find valuable.For example, a sizeable proportion of ACE’s music budget would have been far better spent on preserving tuition in state schools , which activity is in clear danger of disappearing altogether

  • T Foyeh (performing artist) says:

    The Arts Council must survive. Most negative comments are not artists who have dealt fovourably with them. I can vouch for the great job they are doing.
    30 years ago I was a recepient of a minor grant in Arts Council Funding
    As a performer this capital injection allowed me to start from nothing but with hard work perform worldwide from Malta to Japan, Canada, USA, Jamaica, Grenada, Bahamas, etc and continue til today. How many Artists, Arts organisations, Dance companies, Theatre Groups, Fillm projects, music, etc they must have supported over the years.
    Directly or indirectly helping UK to promote itself culturally worldwide
    The Arts Council must be allowed to survive so that future generations can have the same opportunities available to them as citizens today
    No organization is perfect but the Arts Council must continue its great work unhindered. The Government must not interfere. It seems nay sayers refuse to understand its cultural benefits to todays society and what it could do in the future

    The Arts Council can only be reviewed by actual artistic practitioners like Andrew Loyd Weber or not at all

  • Anon says:

    The Arts Council England will survive. It is too useful to government and its “antiwoke” stooges in the press and online to be sunk. Without it, the DCMS ministers would have to take personal accountability for choosing to fund yet more Mahler and Beethoven rather than the stuff that is rather more interesting – and much cheaper.

    And despite what Mr Storey says it shouldn’t be funding basic music education. That is a core responsibility of the Department for Education and should be funded as such.