Arts Council delays its 2023-26 investment program without giving an explanation

The Royal Opera House in London (PA Archive)

Arts Council England is delaying the announcement of the 2023-2026 investment program decisions – which specify the amount of funding it will provide to cultural organizations across the country – and has given no explanation as to why.

The Council simply said the decision was made “following discussions with the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS)”. The original announcement was supposed to take place tomorrow.

The Arts Council added that the announcement will be made “as soon as possible” within “the next few days”.

Darren Henley, CEO of ACE, said: “We feel for everyone in anticipation of the outcome of their funding request. We recognize the importance of giving organizations the certainty to enable business planning, and we know that a delay will cause some disruption.

“We thank everyone for their patience. We are working with DCMS to reschedule this announcement as soon as possible. “

Arts organizations across the country have been uncertain as they wait to find out how much funding they will receive or whether they will face cuts or be completely eliminated from their portfolios.

The investment program provides funding in three strands: National Portfolio Organizations (NPOs), Investment Principles Support Organizations (IPSOs), and Transfer Program Organizations. Non-profit organizations are considered to be “leading in their areas”, such as the National Theater and the Royal Opera House in London.

Other London ONLUS include the Almeida Theater, the English National Opera, the Graeae Theater Company, the London Symphony Orchestra, the Museum of London and the Horniman, the Art Fund’s Museum of the Year in 2022.

The scheme provides for investments for a period of three years. There are 828 NPOs in the current portfolio, which will end at the end of March next year. There were 1,700 applications for participation in the 2023-2026 Program.

London institutions have been particularly concerned about the upcoming announcement as Nadine Dorries, who served as Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport for a year under Boris Johnson, spoke in February about hijacking funding. for the arts from the capital.

He said: “Over the past few decades, a huge amount of money has gone to London-based organizations, while other parts of the country have not received their fair share. This is about to change. “

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said: “The government’s decision to significantly cut funding for London arts organizations will not only deal a devastating blow to our city’s creative sector, it will also hurt the UK’s recovery from this pandemic. … “

However, Conservative MP Michelle Donelan, the current Secretary of Culture, has not made similar statements to Dorries.

The delay could be the result of the various changes taking place in Downing Street, with Liz Truss stepping down on Friday and Rishi Sunak taking over as prime minister yesterday. The prime minister will announce his cabinet in the coming days.

Following the push back, there will no longer be a press conference on the 2023-26 investment program decisions. Instead, there will be a “digital event”. More details on this event will follow.

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