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With so much depravation and poverty still to be addressed in England what do members feel about the fact that the Arts Council for England has an annual budget of about £413 million?
Is it ethical that so much money is spent supporting the arts when it could be used to improve the living standards of some of our most deprived citizens?
asked in deprivation, poverty in the uk, poverty reduction

vultan answers:

I'm shocked at how little they get - aren't they supposed to get lottery funding, or am I thinking of someone else?

What's wrong with the arts getting money? There's more to life than kidney dialysis machines and housing estates. £413 million is nothing in governmental terms - it probably wouldn't even pay for one week's worth of the British Army's operating costs, or one hundredth of the total cost of the Olympics or the ID cards scheme. They throw far, far more money at things like the health service and education that at the arts - and rightly so. But that doesn't mean that they should just cut all culture loose.

Spiritual poverty may not be as bad as literal poverty, but it's still bad. I don't want to live in some grey, Orwellian nightmare world with no decoration, entertainment or music.

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blacksmith81 answers:

This is peanuts, compared to the amount of money actually wasted by this government. Consider the sheer number of QUANGOs, that have been created, with duplicated or overlapping functions. The amount of taxpayers money spent on these, is mind-boggling and every penny is coming from your pocket.

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I need to sub contract this problem out to a consultancy firm.(For a fee of tens of thousands), they will report back in eighteen months time and reccommend a propaganda, errr... I mean, PR firm who will reform'rebrand' and remodel the arts council and the publics perception of it.

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xoloriib answers:

That's quite a bit less than the money that people spend on pet food. The pets of the UK are better fed than most people in third world countries. You wouldn't expect people to give up their pets would you¿

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OneFootInTheGame answers:

If you switched to Arts Council's budget to fighting poverty, everybody would be the loser, with maybe a few people lifted out of poverty.

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P-Kasso answers:


Society HAS to spend multiple amounts on multiple different 'good' causes to keep socirty healthy.

400 million or so a year is small change compared to the annual budgets for the NHS, Education, Housing and the Armed Forces etc.

You may not think the arts are a worthy cause but culture is vital so, in my (admittedly a bit biased opinion sustaining it is a key goal of any decent society that wants to keep on working well.

The bit I really do loathe about the Arts Council and its budget is the amount that goes to opera productions - if those productions can't break even or survive financially when charging £97 a ticket then they do not deserve to be subsidised.

They are not commercially viable. Nor are they of interest to the mass of people. They only need subsidising because so few people are interested in opera.

Supporting struggling new artists and backing worthwhile and popular arts should be The Arts Council's focus instead.

I know there is poverty and I knnow also that you can't eat a painting - but there really is absolutely no linkage between a relatively small arts outlay and the wider, bigger and more serious problems in society.

If there was we'd all be asking "How many midwives make up one Damien Hurst?"

It's as different as apples and oranges.

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