Sting, Bryan Ferry and Mark Knopfler unite to slam 'unnecessary' Newcastle arts cuts
Monday 17 December 2012
Prominent artists and musicians have joined forces to criticise a council's proposal to cut 100% of their arts funding.
In an open letter to Newcastle City Council, famous names connected to the region like Sting, Bryan Ferry and Mark Knopfler branded the authority's plans "totally unnecessary".
It is a "short-sighted attack on the arts" and the council risks "throwing away a shared cultural heritage that has been built up by generations and generations of ordinary people in the city", the letter said.
Neil Tennant, Lee Hall, Sir Thomas Allen, Antony Gormley, Robson Green and Jimmy Nail also signed the letter.
If the cuts are implemented, some of the venues affected will include the Theatre Royal, the Northern Stage and City Hall.
Musician Mark Knopfler said: "It is mortifying and shaming that these 100% cuts should be in Newcastle which has always enjoyed such a rich tradition in the arts."
Playwright Lee Hall said: "We understand that the arts should not be sacrosanct in a climate of retrenchment but the draconian and scorched earth nature of these proposals is self-defeating.
"The list of signatories demonstrates Newcastle is remarkable in having produced so many artists who did not come from privileged backgrounds."
The council should "rethink this baffling decision and find an appropriate way to preserve the arts in Newcastle", the letter concludes.
In response the council said it recognises that some of its decisions are not palatable but it can only spend the resources it has.
"Newcastle is one of the very few councils that is setting out three years of its budget rather than year by year and is therefore being much more transparent about the implications of the Government's austerity measures," a spokesman for the council said.
"We face unpalatable decisions which we know are counterproductive and, in many cases, false economy but the council can only spend the resources that it has as it faces losing more than a third of its budget over the next three years.
"The reason for a long-term approach is to be able to talk with cultural organisations to find alternative sources of funding, and we are having positive discussions with organisations across the city about what we need to do together."
Review: Imaginative storytelling returns with vigourfilm
Bannatyne leaves Dragon's DenTV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Howard Jacobson: Let's see the 'criticism' of Israel for what it really is
- 2 Game of Thrones author George RR Martin says 'f*** you' to fans who fear he will die before finishing Westeros saga
- 3 Belgium fan Axelle Despiegelaere lands L'Oreal campaign after World Cup viral photo
- 4 Britney Spears sings 'Alien' without Auto-Tune in embarrassing leaked audio clip
- 5 PornHub begs users to stop uploading video clips of Brazil getting beaten 7-1
Sustained immigration has not harmed Britons' employment, say government advisers
Australia facing international condemnation after turning around Sri Lankans at sea
7/7 memorial defaced on anniversary of 2005 attacks with ‘Blair lied thousands died’ graffiti
Even when it brutalises one of its own teenage citizens, America is helpless against Israel
Socialist Worker called to apologise over ‘vile’ article saying Eton schoolboy Horatio Chapple's death is ‘reason to save the polar bears’
There’s a nasty smell in the political air – and it’s coming from the Tories