Today (1 July) Arts Council England announces details of its investment plans for
the next three years including its new national portfolio of arts organisations and
museums representing a major public investment in England’s arts and culture.
These plans include:
A new National Portfolio of 670 arts organisations (NPOs) and 21 Major
Partner Museums (MPMs). 46 arts organisations join the portfolio and 58
leave. 5 new museums are added to the portfolio ensuring a wider
The investment in NPOs for 2015/16 will be £339.5million, compared to
£341.4m in 2014/15. The MPM budget has increased to £22.6 million in
2015/16 from £21.5 million; an increase of £1.1 million.
An increase to the Grants for the Arts budget to £70m in 2015/16, from
£63m in 2014/15.
These increases will lead to a reduction in Strategic funds for the arts
overall- a budget of £104m per annum from £153m in 2014/15.
This investment in NPOs and MPMs assumes standstill funding from
Government in years 15/16 and 17/18.
The majority of organisations in the new portfolio (75 per cent) have received
standstill funding. Uplifts have been given in only exceptional cases – less than
10% of the entire portfolio. 37 organisations have seen funding reduced.
Overall the proposed NPOs budget is now reduced by 0.56 per cent a year in
2015/16, despite a reduction of 36 per cent in grant in aid from government since
2010. The portfolio is only slightly reduced in size from 696 to 670; partly because
of the better than expected CSR settlement in 2015/16 from the Chancellor and
partly by building on our existing use of lottery money to fund an additional number
of organisations. Sustaining the National portfolio in this way means that there will
be a significant reduction to the Arts Council’s Strategic funds. Our focus for
Strategic funds will therefore be building capacity outside London. For the next
three years there will be very limited funds for capital investment and savings have
been made across other schemes such as the large scale Catalyst programme
which supports endowments for large organisations.
Sir Peter Bazalgette, Chair Arts Council England said: “We are in the premier
league of creative nations and this portfolio will keep us on top in an era of tight
funding. We can delight in our arts organisations and museums for the sheer
inspiration they bring to our daily lives as well as their contribution to the creative
sector. I’m proud that we’ve been able to deliver such a strong and well balanced
“With 46 new entrants to the National Portfolio, with increased funding for Grants
for the Arts, and with Creative People and Places being maintained at its current
level over the next period, this settlement represents a commitment by Arts
Council England to new talent and building England's arts and culture capacity all
over the country. When funding is declining you have to set priorities - this we
Balance of funding
For the next three years we will build on the current trend of 60% of Grant in
aid and 70% National Lottery investment outside London whilst continuing
to support the incredible offer in London.
There is an overall shift in National portfolio spending- in 2008 this was 51%
to London and 49% outside the capital. In 2015/16 this will be 47% in
London and 53% outside.
£15m for a new Strategic fund will be invested in retaining talent and
boosting production outside the capital.
£25m more will be invested in Creative People and Places.
With 5 new MPMs their budget will increase by £11m over 2015-18 to
introduce a wider geographical spread.
Alan Davey, Chief Executive Arts Council England said: “We have produced a
connected mix of organisations who can produce excellent work that will engage and succour audiences nationwide. This portfolio is about investment in new talent
whilst supporting stability and continuity.
“The portfolio should be viewed alongside our strategic funds and Grants for the
Arts – these will fund added ambition and reach in a sector that has shown it is
hungry to do more and audiences that have shown they are hungry for great
“But we mustn’t forget that sustaining the National Portfolio comes at a real price in
terms of the reduced size of our investment in these other areas over the next
three years. We have increased Grants for the Arts, but have cut things like
capital spending significantly. The long term health of our arts and culture
depends on continued commitment from central and local government to invest in
If we get diversity right we get better art and appeal to wider audiences. For the
first time all organisations will be asked to demonstrate how they will make their
work relevant to a wider range of audiences and build a workforce that better
reflects our contemporary society, making the Creative Case for diversity a reality.
We will use £6 million strategic funds to support this.
Opera and ballet
The National portfolio decisions also reflect the outcome of our two-year long
opera and ballet analysis. This analysis was undertaken to support greater
business resilience for the seven large-scale opera and ballet companies, resulting
in a better return for public investment, and ensuring that we continue to provide
exciting opportunities for artists and audiences. The details of investment
decisions resulting from that analysis are in the separate opera and ballet briefing
Finally, we are also announcing 65 Capital awards of £71m today, from the current
Capital round up to March 2015 – this investment supports organisations to
maintain the excellent work that audiences across the country enjoy by providing
them with high-quality equipment and flexible working environments.
For more information contact:
Head of Media Arts Council England
Tel:020 7 973 5132
Notes to editors
Arts Council England champions, develops and invests in artistic and cultural
experiences that enrich people’s lives. We support a range of activities across the
arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to digital art, reading to dance, music to
literature, and crafts to collections. Great art and culture inspires us, brings us
together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it
makes life better. Between 2010 and 2015, we will invest £1.9 billion of public
money from government and an estimated £1.1 billion from the National Lottery to
help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country.