percent from funding later this year after the CSR.
And a crisis of direct funding is not the end of the ACE’s woes. Local authorities, which contribute significantly to grass roots arts organisations, are being asked to rein in their spending to an even greater degree: the Department for Communities and Local Government (CLG) will be required to cut £780 million – 7.4 percent – from this year’s budget. In addition to this reduction in the department’s main budget, the Westminster government is planning to reduce other central spending on local government by a further £405 million for total cuts to the CLG in excess of £1 billion. Local authority support for the arts has been reported as “the big, largely underreported danger for British arts”.
Reductions in other government departments’ budgets that are expected to have a knock-on effect for the arts are cuts of £670 million to the Education Department, and £836 million to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.
Other pressures will be brought to bear in the near future as the severity of government budget cuts runs the risk of tipping the UK economy officially back into recession. The cuts have been criticised for being over-zealous and ideologically driven considering various other fiscal and economic policy options have not been considered.
The UK economy is one of the weakest in the developed world, leading British Prime Minister David Cameron to prepare the country for the most draconian public spending cuts in a generation by announcing on 7 June that the UK’s debt was “staggering” and the nation’s “whole way of life” will be disrupted for years by the measures deemed necessary to avert financial disaster.
Half of the deterioration in the fiscal position of advanced economies is due to economic stimulus packages and financial sector support, according to the IMF.
A Conservative–Liberal Democrat coalition government was announced a week after UK national elections on 6 May resulted in a hung parliament. The Conservative Party won the most seats with a 5 percent swing in its favour, away from the incumbent Labour Party, but was still short of a majority.
A national scandal surrounded the elections when resources proved insufficient in the face of a higher-than-expected voter turnout. Thousands of would-be voters throughout the country, unable to be processed, in some instances after waiting for hours, were turned away from polling stations when they closed. Other would-be voters were unable to cast a ballot when they found they were not on the correct register, or when some polling stations ran out of ballot papers.