Arts world told to get profitable as more cuts loom

British Museum is the scene for Maria Miller's speech to arts world chiefs
British Museum is the scene for Maria Miller's speech to arts world chiefs
Alex Stevenson By

Leading figures in Britain's arts world have been told they must turn their product into a "commodity" to justify continued funding.

Culture secretary Maria Miller paved the way for spending cuts to the arts budget as her department braces for more belt-tightening in this summer's 2015/16 spending review.

Leaders of the arts world have already spoken out about the damaging impact cuts to funding will have. The National Theatre's outgoing artistic director Sir Nicholas Hytner has warned playwrights are being hit hard, for example.

Miller sought to win over support by insisting "I am fighting your corner as hard as I can within government" – and insisted steps need to be taken to reframe the value of art in monetary terms.


"I come to you today and ask you to help me reframe the argument - to hammer home the value of culture to our economy," she said in a speech at the British Museum this morning.

"I know this will not be to everyone's taste but in an age of austerity, when times are tough and money is tight, our focus must be on culture's economic impact."

She argued the case for continued public funding requires a "two-way street" in which the contributions of film, music, art and TV makers provide "healthy dividends" for the government's "investment".

"That's the argument that I, as culture secretary, intend to make at the Cabinet table, and in our negotiations with Treasury – and I need all your help in that endeavour," she added.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport, like all other government departments, must submit its plans to the Treasury on how it proposes to make further spending cuts of ten per cent by the end of the month.

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