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Reviewing the Spending Review: A sectoral analysis

Tony Dolphin, ippr (ed)
29 October 2010

The dust has settled on the Coalition’s announcement of its Comprehensive Spending Review and, as the headlines fade, the ramifications of the government’s cuts for different streams of public sector activity and expenditure are becoming clearer.

Compiled by various sector experts within ippr, this briefing lays out in summary form some of the key measures and policy implications of the Coalition’s landmark announcement.

The full report can be downloaded here

Extract from the above report

Culture, Media and Sport

The Deparment of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) is being cut by 25%: a 24% reduction in resource spending, from £1.4bn to £1.1bn, and a 32% reduction in the DCMS capital budget, from £0.2bn to £0.1bn, between 2011–12 and 2014–15.


Capital projects already underway will be completed, and £530m will be invested over the CSR period to expand the UK’s superfast broadband network.

Spending on the Olympics – including funds for top competing athletes – has been protected.

Free entry to museums and galleries has been protected. Museums, galleries, the British Library, the British Film Institute, whole-sport plans and Elite Athlete Funding will be cut by a relatively small 15%.

Despite cuts of 33% to Sport England (community sport) and 28% to UK Sport (elite athletes), damage will be offset by merging the two bodies and refocusing the National Lottery fund on sport, the arts and heritage from 2012.


Measures to protect ‘frontline’ grant-dependent organisations mean deep cuts of around 50% to the administrative costs of DCMS and various quangos.

The UK Film Council, the Museum, Libraries and Archives Council and the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment have been abolished.

The Arts Council of England budget will be cut in real terms by around 30% – or £350m – over the next four years, in the context of a 20% reduction last year.

The Arts Council was asked to pass on no more than 15% of cuts overall to grant-dependent organisations, which it has decided to apply equally across the bodies it funds.

The big losers here are business development and arts for young people, with ACE budgets halved for Arts and Business and Creativity, Culture and Education. The budget for ‘strategic’ projects, such as festivals and national touring schemes, is also being slashed by 64%.

The BBC’s budget has been reduced by 16%. Around £340m from the TV licence fee – frozen until 2016–17 – will now fund the BBC World Service, BBC Monitoring, and S4C, as well as helping to meet the cost of rolling out broadband internet access to rural areas.

Other big cuts include the Design Museum, by 65%; Visit Britain – responsible for promoting Britain as a tourist destination – by 34%; and English Heritage – the largest source of non-lottery grant funding for heritage assets – by 32%.

Policy implications

How can broad access to culture and sport be maintained?

Despite continued free access to museums and galleries, the cost of theatre tickets is likely to rise, and many educational and community outreach programmes will be cut. In addition, cuts elsewhere, particularly to local authorities, will hit public access to the arts. Local government spending on cultural services, including sport, is currently approximately £2.5bn annually, equivalent to cultural spending by central government and the National Lottery combined. How to ensure the Olympic Games leaves a sports legacy will also be an ongoing issue in the run-up to 2012 and beyond.

Promoting private investment

The government hopes that private philanthropy will fill the gap in public spending on sport, the arts and heritage – in particular, it hopes to attract private investment to promote cultural exchange with the BRIC countries – and has pledged continued support for creative industries, in part through increased private investment. However, critics say the ability to attract private funds has been diminished by cuts to bodies that provide capacity-building for arts bodies and promote creative industries. How to attract private funds to the arts and mitigate the impact of the cuts on creative industries will be important policy priorities.

The future of media

Although the BBC has earned a brief respite with no license fee negotiations for another six years, the incumbent government is hostile and the future of public service broadcasting and media plurality and ownership will continue to be hot issues. Also watch out for the impact of reforms to Ofcom, which will transfer some of its responsibilities (for example, to regularly review media ownership rules) to the discretion of the Secretary of State.

Public rights, protection and space

Many of the quangos that have been abolished or cut deeply are those that regulate, advise on or protect the UK’s built environment and heritage, and those that promote public access to the arts. How can the government maintain the quality of decisions for art, architecture, sport and heritage taken in the public interest?

World wide Arts and Health Month

The American Society for the Arts in Healthcare has launched the first annual Arts + Health Month (November); an opportunity for organizations and individuals worldwide to promote the integration of the arts – including literary, performing, and visual arts and design – into a wide variety of healthcare and community settings for therapeutic, educational, and expressive purposes.

The SAH has published a range of assoicated resources at w:

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