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Welsh Government Draft Budget Cuts Music, Arts and Union Learning Funds

The MU will be writing to Welsh Government and UK Ministers as music and arts face a 10% cut, and local culture funding is cut by a third in Wales’ draft budget.

Published: 21 December 2023 | 2:15 PM
MU Regional Organiser for Wales and South West England Andy Warnock working on a laptop at this year's Wales Members' Day event.
MU Regional Organiser Andy Warnock: “Ultimately responsibility for this lies with the UK government. This is where most of Welsh Government funding comes from”. Image credit: The MU ©

Arts and culture, including music, will be cut by 10% in the draft budget for 2024/25 published by the Welsh Government this week. Local culture and sport is being cut by just under a third.

At the same time, there will be less support for businesses that hire musicians as rates relief for pubs and shops is expected to be reduced from 75% to 40%.

Looking at education, the Welsh Government is considering increasing tuition fees, while Welsh Trades Union Congress and Union Learning Fund budgets have also been cut among other areas.

Ultimate responsibility for this situation lies with the UK Government

MU Regional Organiser for Wales and South West England Andy Warnock said:

“We’re concerned by these cuts to arts and culture, as well as business support, in the Welsh Government’s draft budget which are likely to affect our members’ work opportunities.

“We understand the pressures on all areas of public spending in Wales and the difficult position Welsh Government is in, and will be seeking to engage with them and the Arts Council of Wales on the details of funding arrangements for 2024/25.

“It’s also important to remember that ultimate responsibility for this situation lies with the UK Government. The majority of Welsh Government funding comes in a block grant from the UK Government, and this needs to reflect the realities of inflation, increasing costs, and changing demand, but hasn’t due to the UK Government’s lack of investment on public services in England compared to those pressures.

“The lack of fair funding in relation to HS2 is another specific example of UK Government decisions that have negatively affected funding for services in Wales.”

Representing members in Wales

The MU will be engaging with Arts Council Wales (which has also responded to the draft budget), Deputy Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism Dawn Bowden MS, and the UK Government on the details of budgets for 2024/25.

We will also be looking at further actions in the new year.

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