Yesterday’s austerity budget can now without doubt be recognised as the most far-reaching and seismic in the history of the state. The December 7th date would seemingly never arrive as the roundabouts and meandering by Government was pale distraction for the fear palpable in the general public. Family and social protection is of primary concern to any individual in this scenario. How one can provide for their loved ones, keep their home, child-care, education, health, career as well as having some sort of social life has well and truly been put under threat from this front bearing of the Government’s four year plan.
Speaking purely from a point of view of someone working in the Arts and Culture sector, this particular group of the economy has received hits and proves no exception in bearing its share of cuts. In a press release from the Department of Tourism, Culture and Sport, Minister Hanafin lays out the details of allocations and reductions on allocations for the coming year. In Brian Lenehan’s Budget delivery speech he outlined a scaling back of the €10 travel tax, while not eradicating it completly. the new travel tax will stand at €3. This, however, will be reviewed in 2011. In a statement the Minister outlines the Department of Tourism, Culture and Sport will “continue to support the employment of some 250,000 people across all three sectors, as well as enhancing our cultural and sporting activities and contribute significantly to Ireland’s economic recovery in the coming years.”
Minister Hanafin further said “funding for the Arts Council will help sustain its main arts organisations, keep regional venues open and programmed and support festivals and touring. The Council supports over 50 venues, approximately 200 festivals and 400 arts organisations”
A breakdown of how the Budget of 2011 will affect the Arts and Culture sector is listed below:
- An allocation of €65.2m for the Arts Council which is a 5% reduction on the 2010 allocation will enable it to maintain its major programmes and activities.
- The Irish Film Board allocation of €18.4m will enable it to continue to support indigenous Irish audiovisual industry and attract inward investment from international productions.
- The National Museum allocation of €14.2 million includes €2m capital funding for renovations at the Treasury in the Museum on Kildare Street and the fitting out of the Collections Resource Centre.
- Almost €21m is allocated to the National Library, IMMA, National Concert Hall, Chester Beatty Library and Crawford Gallery.
- The artists’ exemption will have a new threshold of €40,000. The section 481 investment tax relief for the film and television production sector will remain in place.
- An allocation of €9.85m for the National Gallery – a reduction of 3% on 2010.
- Over €4m is provided to support regional and smaller museums, as well as to fund events such as Culture Night 2011 and the major new contemporary art event Dublin Contemporary 2011.
- A carry-over of €3m from 2010 will be used towards the funding of Culture Ireland’s major year-long season of contemporary Irish culture – Imagine Ireland– across the United States in 2011.
For information on how the Budget will affect Tourism and Sport in Ireland see the press release issued by the Department of Tourism, Culture and Sport here.