Opera: Finance

(asked on 13th July 2023) - View Source

Question to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport:

To ask His Majesty's Government what representations the Department for Culture, Media and Sport has received concerning cuts to opera funding in England and Wales.

This question was answered on 31st July 2023

It is important that people across the country have access to a diverse range of cultural opportunities. Arts and cultural bodies receive funding through a wide variety of sources, including through Arts Council England, an arm’s-length body of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, and the Arts Council of Wales, which as a Welsh Government Sponsored Body works within a strategic framework agreed with the Welsh Government.

In addition to the £4.6 million it received from the Arts Council of Wales each year, the Welsh National Opera will receive £4 million of public funding through Arts Council England’s 2023–26 Investment Programme, and was also successful in its application to Arts Council England's ‘Transform Programme’, through which it will receive an additional one-off payment of £3.25 million. This means the Welsh National Opera will receive over £15 million of public funding from Arts Council England between 2023 and 2026.

Cultural organisations across the UK such as the Welsh National Opera are also benefiting from the two-year extension to the higher rates of theatre, orchestra, museums and galleries exhibition tax reliefs announced at the last Budget. This extension will continue to offset ongoing pressures and boost investment in our cultural sectors. They will encourage investment in productions across the UK, support cultural organisations to tour, drive economic growth, and allow the sector to maintain its international competitiveness and reputation.

Arts Council England remains committed in its support for opera, and its 2023–26 Investment Programme has 13 organisations (an increase from the previous round) receiving a share of £30 million per annum (a figure which counts just 50% of the Royal Opera House grant, as that organisation is also home to the Royal Ballet). This represents around 40% of the Programme’s total investment in music (around £76 million p.a. when including 50% of the Royal Opera House’s funding).

Since decisions about which organisations to fund, and by how much, are made by Arts Council England at arm’s length from Government, and are a devolved matter in relation to Wales, the Department has no plans to meet any of the organisations or other Ministers named in relation to the Welsh National Opera.

Reticulating Splines