Birdsong, 2004
Sutapa Biswas
. Photograph: Toby Glanville
Institute of International Visual Art
Until 20 June

Shortfall Roundup - Additional Core Funding Not Just Icing [added 9/02]

As the Chancellor deliberates on the next three year spending round it is increasingly evident that additional core funding is not just the icing on the cake. Years of neglect plus contingent factors, such as the down turn in tourism following foot and mouth and September 11th, have hit hard. The most celebrated casualty is the British Museum, but with Tom Stoppard calling for additional money for the arts in a New Statesman interview (click here forthcoming issue 8th July), a group of leading artists lobbying the Chancellor for investment in regional museums (click here for text of letter ) and the immense popularity of Tate Modern unable to shield it from nail biting end of year figures, with only the year end success of the Andy Warhol exhibition apparently warding off a deficit, the shortfall between core costs and public expectations harbours no favourites.

Gerry Robinson, Chair of the Arts Council of England, has made a bid to the Chancellor for an additional £100m a year for the arts by 2006. Figures from the Arts Council reveal that: "when comparing like with like, arts spending in 2003/04 (ie after the positive effects of the 2000 government spending round have been absorbed) as a proportion of total public expenditure will have fallen by 8.7% since 1979. At the end of 2003/04, the arts will still be £48.7m worse off than they would have been if the Arts Councilís grant had kept in step with inflation.

Whilst a new report - UK Museums Needs Assessment - reveals the true extent of investment needed to modernise collections and their services. 60% of museum stores are severely overcrowded, for example. 50% of museums are unable to update their websites and many buildings will not meet the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act. To access the report (published by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Resource,2002)click here. The document tackles issues of management and prioritisation as well as the acute need for investment in material and human resources, whihc must be met if the huge assets represented in our museums and galleries, as places of inspiration, enjoyment and learning are to fulfil the standards and expectations of the 21st century.