This note examines funding for the arts across Great Britain from 1955 to the present. The Arts Council of England (ACE), Creative Scotland (CS), Arts Council of Wales (ACW), as well as the historic Arts Council of Great Britain (ACGB), receive individual examination.Jump to full report >>
Since 1994 responsibility for arts funding and promotion across Great Britain has been primarily split between the UK, Scottish and Welsh governments. Each relevant government department generally operates on an “arm’s length basis” for arts funding. Separate non-departmental public bodies receive funding (called Grant-in-Aid) from their respective government, as well as a share of proceeds from the National Lottery Distribution Fund, and are responsible for the arts within their nation. The exception to this system is the direct funding the UK government provides to national museums and galleries. Prior to 1994 there was one funding body, the Arts Council of Great Britain (ACGB), with responsibility for distributing funding for the arts along a similar basis as today’s bodies.
This note will examine the funding and expenditure of arts councils within Great Britain from 1994 to the present. Additional analysis of direct UK government funding to national museums and galleries will also be presented. Analysis of ACGB arts funding and expenditure from 1955 to 1994 is included as an appendix.
The primary sources for this paper are the annual reports and accounts for each arts council.