Arts charities warn of threats to jobs as council announces cuts

05 Jan 2024 News

Endeavour House, home of Suffolk County Council

Oxymoron / Wikimedia

Arts charities in Suffolk have urged their council to consider the impact on their staff of its planned funding cuts.

This week, Suffolk County Council announced that it would make £500,000-worth of savings by stopping core funding to art and museum sector organisations in 2025.

The cuts were announced as part of the council’s plans to save £64.7m over two years to help fund an additional £42.7m for children’s services and £29.9m for adult care.

Local charities Eastern Angles Theatre Company, the New Wolsey Theatre, Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk Artlink and DanceEast urged the council to rethink the cuts to arts funding.

The charities, alongside fellow arts organisations First Light Festival CIC and Primadonna Festival, wrote: “The proposed cut to these organisations will provide an extremely modest difference to the council’s overall finances, representing a saving of just 0.057% of the council’s 2023-24 revenue budget.

“However, the ‘cost’ to our county will be so much more significant. Collectively, our organisations support 24,493 children and young people and 76,516 vulnerable people through our community engagement work. 

“We also provide permanent employment for 154 staff, and project or contract employment for a further 499 staff.

“Suffolk-wide, the culture sector plays an important part in providing employment for local people, with almost 6,985 jobs being supported by the sector.

“Our organisations, both collectively and individually, call on Suffolk County Council to consider the merit of a small cost saving, compared to the huge impact this will have on communities across Suffolk who benefit from our work.”

Announcing the plans this week, Suffolk councillor Richard Rout said: “This is the most challenging budget-setting process the council has faced for many years. But once again, we are putting adult and children’s care at the heart of our plans.

“However, in order to ensure appropriate levels of funding for these key services, and those most in need in Suffolk, we must make difficult decisions about all the other services we deliver, and how we deliver them.”

The budget proposals will be discussed at the council’s scrutiny committee and then presented at the cabinet meeting on 30 January.

At the full council meeting on 15 February, the proposals will be debated, with a vote taking place on the budget for 2024-25, the first year of the two-year budget proposals.

For more news, interviews, opinion and analysis about charities and the voluntary sector, sign up to receive the free Civil Society daily news bulletin here.


More on