DEVASTATING cuts to Newcastle’s artistic sector will harm the economy, as well as wrecking the city’s cultural life, a new report claims.
Figures released in an attempt to force a Newcastle Council climbdown on 100% cuts to a number of cultural bodies show £4.06 was put back into the region’s economy for every pound of subsidy received during 2011/12.
The findings made by Culture Matters – 10 of the North East’s top cultural venues – show £77.6m was pumped into the region’s economy across the cultural organisations during 2011/12.
The venues supported more than 2,000 jobs, procured goods and services worth more than £19m from regional suppliers and generated around £8.6m in additional visitor spend.
Last night Jim Beirne, chief executive of Newcastle’s Live Theatre, told The Journal that Newcastle will likely lose some of its leading cultural venues if the proposed budget cuts are carried out.
He said: “Now we have proper evidence that underlines the economic value of culture and arts in Newcastle.
“These are proposed cuts at the moment from the city council, and we’re simply making the argument from an economic point of view. To completely remove investment in culture will have devastating effects on the city’s economy in the long term.
“In time there is no doubt you would lose some organisations if cuts of this magnitude were made.
“We recognise the city council is facing some incredibly difficult decisions and that there can be no winners, but the arts subsidy received by us all delivers a huge return for a relatively small investment.
“As such, we would strongly urge cabinet members to think again.”