Some notes on the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement today, in terms of new measures likely to affect the arts and creative industries:-
* The Small Business Rate Relief scheme will be extended for another year.
* Apprenticeship funding will be increased and expanded, there will be a total of “3 million apprentices” by 2020.
* “Every employer will receive a £15,000 allowance to offset” the apprenticeship Training Levy. Businesses with wage bills of less than £3m per year will not pay the Training Levy at all.
* “I am increasing the cash that will go to the Arts Council” (but there will be the expected 20% cuts in the “administration” budget at the Department for Culture).
* “We’ll keep free museum entry”.
* The government will be exploring “a new tax credit” for museum exhibitions. (Presumably for major touring exhibitions, so as to get around the EU rules?)
* Housing benefit payments will be temporarily stopped if someone leaves the UK for more than a month. (I guess this might possibly affect some touring musicians and actors, who are working for peanuts on tour – in expectation of a future profits share-out?)
* Help for museums… “we’ll help the British Museum, the Science Museum, and the V&A move their collections out of storage and on display”. New funding for military museums, also.
* “we’re increasing the funding for the BBC World Service”.
* The above culture and museum boosts are being “achieved without raiding the Big Lottery Fund as some feared”.
* Local councils will be able to keep 100% of sales of property assets… “Local government is sitting on property worth quarter of a trillion pounds. So we’re going to let councils spend 100% of the receipts from the assets they sell to improve their local services.” (I guess this might have an impact on arts/cultural use of old buildings?)
* Business innovation grants will start to become loans. (So, get them now).
* “We’re going to permanently exempt our Energy Intensive Industries like steel and chemicals” from global warming taxes. (I presume this also includes North Staffordshire’s potteries?)
* “Core adult skills funding for F.E. colleges – we will instead protect it in cash terms” (So… it’s protected, but funds won’t rise with inflation??)
* All “part-time students will be able to receive maintenance loans”. (A potential impact on the viability of arts/cultural courses at colleges?)
* On student loans, the government will “extend loans to all postgraduates”. (So, still no mention of barring arts students from getting postgrad loans – they’ll be available for all)
* The UK’s university research councils, which direct research funding and often very wastefully, are to be reformed. (Possible impact on the Arts and Humanities Research Council?).
* National Citizen Service is to be expanded to 300,000 places by 2020. (Possible impact on the availability of project volunteers?)
* The government will “re-orientate” the massive Overseas Aid budget to “help those in the fragile and failing states on Europe’s borders.” (Possible impact on arts organisations and universities involved with the British Council and in overseas partnerships?)