Arts cuts so deep even the Tate may charge

Britain's galleries may charge for entry again, warns Tate trustee, as councils trim their budgets even further

A trustee of the Tate galleries warned this weekend that if cuts to the arts continue at their current pace, it is "likely" the Government will allow museums and arts spaces to start charging for entry in what he called a further "brutalising" of the culture sector.

As councils around the country lay out their budgets for the coming three years, most seeking to slash the money they spend on the arts, contemporary artist Bob and Roberta Smith – the professional name of Patrick Brill – vented his anger at the "irresponsible" attitude of council leaders, and lamented that he could foresee entry to museums and galleries being put out of the reach of many people by the reintroduction of admission charges. Labour abolished these for national collections in 2001, since when attendance figures have soared.

Brill believes the Tate is "100 per cent committed" to free entry. A spokeswoman confirmed: "Tate has no plans to change this." And while the trustee does not believe the Government could mandate charging, because many institutions are more "autonomous than they used to be", he is concerned.

"I think there would be a lot of pressure for organisations to make up their own minds about that. If [the Government] whip up public opinion against the arts in the way that they have done, then suddenly the tables change and I think it is quite likely that they will say that."

As for the leaders of councils across the UK, the artist believes that they are using the arts as a means of representing how tough they are being on budget reductions but are misrepresenting their constituents. "They're making this gesture which says elected people have no interest whatsoever in culture and that's really, really disgraceful. You can't say to an electorate, 'I'm only doing what I'm being told to do.' That is the kind of thing that book burners and people in the 1930s and Forties said."

Hundreds of venues, groups and projects are facing difficult times, as shown in our graphic, right. Last week, Moray Council in northern Scotland announced that it will completely withdraw funding for the arts, saving up to £94,000 a year over three years, while Newcastle City Council announced on Friday that rather than the 100 per cent cut in its £1.15m arts funding, as floated in November, there would be a £600,000 cultural fund from which organisations could bid for money. The concession came after the council was inundated with more than 50,000 responses to its budget consultation, many concerned with the arts cuts.

Tony Durcan, director of culture, libraries and lifelong learning at Newcastle City Council, says that the deal represents the best result, having listened to the consultation. The situation had been "bleak" and the council had "just run out of money".

Harriet Harman, shadow Culture Secretary, had intervened to prevent a 100 per cent cut. In a speech at a Labour arts policy event, she attacked the Conservative Party's approach to the arts, saying that if arts funding cuts were not fought, the "price will be paid in the future".

"Arts and culture take years to build up, but can easily be so quickly destroyed," she said.

Bob and Roberta Smith has seen a "tidal wave of tweets and articles" that has greeted some specific cuts, but he believes far more needs to be done. "The people in the arts world, and people who care about the arts, need to get their shit together, because there is a battle on."

National Museums of Scotland

National Museum of Costume

One of only five national museums in Scotland, the NMC was forced to close last month after being the home to glamorous gowns and colourful costumes from across the centuries for the past 30 years.

Moray council

Entire arts budget

The Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre of Scotland will no longer tread the boards in Moray after a wholesale cut for the arts, saving up to £94,000 a year over three years.

Fife council

Byre Theatre, St Andrews

Sean Connery has joined thousands of others in a last-ditch campaign to save this former cowshed-turned-theatre venue from permanent closure, after grant reductions contributed to it shutting its doors.

Newcastle City council

All Newcastle arts venues

The potential loss of up to 10 libraries over three years, alongside an arts budget cut of more than 50 per cent has left the council facing a public backlash.

Worcestershire County council

Kidderminster Library Gallery

The only custom-built gallery and performance space in the Kidderminster district will be moved into a smaller space, saving more than £200,000 a year, with offices taking its place.

Darlington Borough council

Darlington Arts Centre

Last year, hundreds of people gathered in Darlington to bid a fond farewell to the town's Art Centre which had served as the cultural hub of the area for the past 30 years.

Cardiff City council

Big Weekend

There'll be no more firework finales at what was once the UK's largest free outdoor music festival after the council announced plans last month to scrap it.

Newport City council

Arts budget

Actor Michael Sheen is one of many dismayed over the loss of a temporary exhibition programme and a £150,000 cut to the council's events and arts budget.

Transport for London

London Transport Museum

Swingeing cuts of £1.5m by 2016, 25 per cent of the museum's grant from Transport for London, have led to fears that the much-loved institution has become unsustainable.

Suffolk Coastal District council

Felixstowe Spa Pavilion

A pantomime production of Aladdin in January was the last for this 100-year-old venue after the removal of a £250,000 subsidy from the district council.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
The Great British Bake Off contestants line-up behind Sue and Mel in the Bake Off tent

Arts and Entertainment
Mitch Winehouse is releasing a new album

Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Beast would strip to his underpants and take to the stage with a slogan scrawled on his bare chest whilst fans shouted “you fat bastard” at him

Arts and Entertainment
On set of the Secret Cinema's Back to the Future event

Arts and Entertainment
Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman

Arts and Entertainment
Pedro Pascal gives a weird look at the camera in the blooper reel

Arts and Entertainment
Public vote: Art Everywhere poster in a bus shelter featuring John Hoyland
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Griffin holds forth in The Simpsons Family Guy crossover episode

Arts and Entertainment
Judd Apatow’s make-it-up-as-you-go-along approach is ideal for comedies about stoners and slackers slouching towards adulthood
filmWith comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
Arts and Entertainment
booksForget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Arts and Entertainment
Off set: Bab El Hara
tvTV series are being filmed outside the country, but the influence of the regime is still being felt
Arts and Entertainment
Red Bastard: Where self-realisation is delivered through monstrous clowning and audience interaction
Arts and Entertainment
O'Shaughnessy pictured at the Unicorn Theatre in London
tvFiona O'Shaughnessy explains where she ends and her strange and wonderful character begins
Arts and Entertainment
The new characters were announced yesterday at San Diego Comic Con

Arts and Entertainment
Rhino Doodle by Jim Carter (Downton Abbey)

Arts and Entertainment
No Devotion's Geoff Rickly and Stuart Richardson
musicReview: No Devotion, O2 Academy Islington, London
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film

Arts and Entertainment
Comedian 'Weird Al' Yankovic

Is the comedy album making a comeback?

Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

    The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

    With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
    Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

    How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

    As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
    We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

    We will remember them

    Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
    Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

    Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

    Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
    Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

    Acting in video games gets a makeover

    David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
    Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

    Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

    Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
    Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

    Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

    Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
    Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

    Spanx launches range of jeans

    The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
    10 best over-ear headphones

    Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

    Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
    Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

    Commonwealth Games

    David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
    UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

    UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

    Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
    Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

    The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

    The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
    A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

    A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

    Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
    Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

    Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

    How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
    Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

    From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

    He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star