High drama at the Arts Council for Wales

The BBC has reported upon the cuts being made to the Arts Council for Wales (ACW) in a recent article. The article, which was constructed to act more as a pre-emptive tug at the heart strings of theatre goers, suggests that the £300,000 cut to the budget would represent “potential problems” for the Council.

I’m not at this point going to start bashing everything artistic. After all, the creative industry is a multi-million pound industry and our artistic work differentiates us from every other species, but there is no question that many grants have been given to art that is by no means inclusive to the wider populace.

But why is it that we now have ACW offering apocalyptic warnings to everyone as small as community groups up to and inclusive of the Welsh National Opera over their future funding streams? The Council handles nearly £33m of Welsh taxpayers money; it seems strange to despair at the warning that arts groups may have to rely more on the income they themselves generate.

As a taxpayer I would like to think that every penny of tax I pay is going to protect essential frontline services, but if the ACW believes that these groups can survive via the income they generate, then why were they being given money in the first place? Secondly, the ACW – despite the UK’s £1.3 trillion debt burden – still think that they can get by on the something for nothing band-wagon.

This non-essential spending should be completely cut. Welsh taxpayers should be getting value for money and not be subsidising small groups of individual hobbies or aiding with an individual’s claims of self-expression. The Welsh Government need to take a more robust approach to saving the Welsh Finances and one of the ways to do this is to further cut ACW funding.

Lee Canning is the TaxPayers’ Alliance’s Grassroots co-ordinator in Wales.

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