Provincial arts groups face more pain after council funding is cut

Regional arts groups are braced for more pain after councils were told their cultural spending will be cut by £124m by next March.

Cultural groups, especially outside London, are already under threat after a round of budget cuts, and local authority support is vital to their survival.

Councils' overall budget will rise from £98.4bn in 2012-13 to £102.2bn in 2013-14, but cultural spending will fall from £2.9bn to £2.7bn. That marks a drop of 4.2 per cent – the biggest hit suffered by any of the services supported by local authorities.

The Arts Council also faces funding cuts, and provincial museums, theatres and arts groups are losing out in philanthropic donations: figures from 2010-11 (the latest available), show that two-thirds of such donations go to cultural organisations in London.

Maria Miller, the Culture Secretary, has been urged by her shadow counterpart, Harriet Harman, to produce a "survival strategy". Ms Harman claimed her opponent's "field of vision is well within the M25".

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