A new initiative launched earlier this week by a group of UK unions aims to record all of the projects and organisations that will be lost due to cuts in public subsidy of the arts.
A dedicated website for the initiative (link below) will also keep a running total of the money lost to the arts, the money lost to the Treasury, and the number of jobs at risk.
The Musicians’ Union, Equity, the Writers’ Guild, the NUJ, Bectu, Unite, Prospect and PCS are all supporting the scheme.
Along with music from the Urban Soul Orchestra, the launch event in the Lecture Hall of Westminster Central Hall featured speakers including Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Ivan Lewis MP, actress Maggie Steed and FEU (Federation of Entertainment Unions) president John Smith.
“I’m delighted that we have been able to secure support for this important initiative from such a wide cross section of unions,” said Smith. “Every £1 invested in the arts produces £2 for the economy, and yet the arts and culture sector is currently suffering from disastrous local authority cuts, as well as the cuts that the Arts Council has had to make after its 30% cut from Government.
“The reality is that these cuts signal the start of the end for many organisations, and we want to make sure that these losses are documented. By keeping an account of the damage done on the Lost Arts website, we hope to win the argument for public funding of the arts once and for all.”
A feature on the impact of arts cuts on live performance will appear in the 2011 edition of PSNLive, which is due for publication next month.