“These cuts are made worse by the fact that around 80% have to come in the first two years” - Liz ForganSource: Steve Double
Cuts in budget next year, with no funding guaranteed in the future
Architecture centres and design-related organisations will be forced to look for alternative sources of funding after receiving a double whammy of cuts.
Arts Council England (ACE) this week became the latest grants body to reveal the knock-on effect of the comprehensive spending review.
Despite losing nearly a third of its own budget, it announced cuts of only 6.9% would be passed on to the bodies it funds next year.
But the following year – 2012/13 – all past agreements with its regularly funded organisations (RFOs) will be torn up. Affected organisations include the Architecture Centre Network, the Architecture Foundation, Open City and architecture centres all over the country.
They will then have to bid alongside all comers for the reduced pot of money.
Many had already been hit by big cuts after the demise of Cabe and the regional development agencies.
ACE chair Liz Forgan admitted: “These are severe cuts, made worse by the fact that around 80% of them have to come in the first two years of the settlement.”
“These cuts are made worse by the fact that around 80% have to come in the first two years”
Despite uncertainty in the long term, many architecture organisations voiced relief that the initial cut was much smaller than they feared, giving them a year to make contingency plans.
This year Made, the West Midlands architecture centre, received £200,000 from its RDA, £50,000 from Cabe and £35,000 from ACE.
Its ACE grant will be cut by £2,400 next year, which chief executive David Tittle called “quite positive” in the context. The centre held a crisis board meeting last week where it discussed a direct appeal to architecture minister John Penrose.
“I think everyone left feeling fairly optimistic,” he said. “We are talking to local authorities in our region to see if they would subscribe to our services in future and the response has been better than we feared.
“Of course it’s nice to get big chunks of funding but the cuts are forcing us to get closer to our customers, which is not a bad thing.”
He said freeing organisations from the “straitjacket” of RFO status would in theory allow them to bid for bigger sums from ACE after 2012, although he acknowledged this was riskier.
The Architecture Centre Network has also been hit by falling funds from ACE but will be more worried by the loss of Cabe’s support for architecture and built environment centres, worth £900,000 in grants for the current financial year.
The network told BD it was applying for a series of European Union grants but admitted some of the 22 regional bodies it helps fund will close.
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