Equity – NEW:Join the campaign to save our theatre


Performing for you

NEW: Join the campaign to save our theatre


Equity has launched a campaign to resist cuts to the UK arts budgets. Cultural spending represents less than 1% of the NHS budget however the Government is proposing cuts of between 25% and 30% as part of the Comprehensive Spending Review. Members have told us that we must protest long and loud about cuts that will make hardly a blip on Government finances but will seriously damage the arts and also, we believe, the future strength of our economy.

Now every Equity member is being asked to play their part in campaigning against these cuts. Get your supply of campaign postcards to distribute to fellow members and friends. These postcards are aimed at local MPs and give key facts about why cuts to the arts are bad for the UK.

The Equity Council has already sent an open letter to David Cameron arguing that with the downturn in the financial and manufacturing sectors the arts and creative industries are one of the few bright lights on the horizon.

There are also details of how you can join the campaign against the abolition of the UK Film Council and add your name to the petition to protect the BBC Licence Fee.

You can also make an appointment with your local MP at Westminster or attend a constituency surgery to raise your concerns about the cuts. Included below are a number of facts that you may wish to use in your own lobbying and campaigning work.

Contribution of the arts to the economy

• The Department for Culture Media and Sport estimates that the economic contribution of the performing arts is around £3.7 billion a year in terms of GVA (Gross Value Added).

• In 2003 it is estimated the sector’s exports were worth £240 million.

• For every £1 that the Arts Councils invest, an additional £2 is generated from elsewhere totalling £3 income.

• The sector covered by DCMS accounts for 10% of GDP (Gross Domestic Product)

Public investment generates a huge return

• The arts budget is tiny; according to the Arts Council England it ‘costs 17p a week a person – less than half the price of a pint of milk’.

• The public investment of £121.3 million for theatre is thought to generate in the region of £2.6 billion annually, split between the West End (£1.5 billion) and the rest of the country (£1.1 billion).

• The National Theatre, now open seven days a week, played to 93% capacity in 2008/09, selling 817,000 tickets and achieving its highest attendance in the decade.

• The core UK film industry contributed over £4.5 billion to UK GDP in 2009 and over £1.2 billion to the Exchequer gross of tax relief and other fiscal support, from a turnover of £8.6 billion.

The arts are successful

• The talent nurtured in our theatres and music venues win record numbers of Oscars, Tonys and Grammies.

• In 2009 the 52 major theatres in central London had their best year ever with box office receipts of £504.7 million and attendance numbers of 14.2 million, up on the record year of 2008.

• In 2009 UK films and talent scooped 36 major film awards, 17% of the total available.

• The BBC generates over £1bn through worldwide sales.

The arts and culture are popular

• 79% of the population agree that the arts should receive public funding.

• 77% of all adults in England, 90% of adults in Scotland, 76% of adults in Wales and 76% of adults in Northern Ireland attended or took part in an arts or cultural event in 2007.

• 85% of adults say they’d miss the BBC if it wasn’t there and 77% believe it is an institution to be proud of.

• In 2009 HSBC asked 500 entrepreneurs and business decision-makers what they thought business in Britain should be about and world class creative industries were the most important priority at 56.5% ahead of the 46.2% emphasising the need for a top class education and training system.

If you need any other assistance, would like to request an additional supply of postcards or want to feed back your own ideas on how to take the campaign forward please get in touch by emailing saveourtheatre@equity.org.uk.

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