Reported over the last month has been a reduction in the grant that Harrogate Theatre receives from the North Yorkshire County Council.
The reduction in North Yorkshire County Council grant is likely to be 84% (from £63,000 to £10,000).
Their grants from the Arts Council and Harrogate Borough Council amounted to £277,418 this year – although may well reduce next year.
Including earned income, sponsorship, etc – Harrogate’s Theatre total income was over £1.5 million.
Against this £1.5 million income, the proposed North Yorkshire County Council reduction in grant represents a 3.5% reduction in total income to the Theatre.
Further comment from the County Council
Andrew Harper, Assistant Director of Economic Development at North Yorkshire County Council explained further to Harrogate-News around the budget reductions:-
“Consultation with arts organisations started in July 2010, seeking to assess the impact of withdrawing all the NYCC grant support and the minimum level of grant required for them to remain viable”
“Alongside this the County Council has been consulting residents about proposed budget cuts across all services: through an on-line survey and through a series of open meetings”
“The North Yorkshire County Council budget settlement from Government in December was significantly lower than expected, meaning that the County Council has to find £56 million over two years with further savings in future years”
“With savings of this kind to be found some very hard decisions are having to be made”
“Priority has been given to trying to safeguard frontline services, particularly those that there is a statutory obligation to deliver”
“Areas of work that are funded on a discretional basis have therefore had to bear greater budget reductions. Our support for theatres has always been on the basis of their wider contribution to meeting our social, educational and economic priorities, as well as artistic excellence”
“As a County Council our job is to deliver services and that has usually included supporting the arts”
“The proposal to reduce the grants should not be seen as a reflection of how much we value the theatres but a reflection of the sheer scale of the budget challenge we are facing”
“At one point there was a possibility that the entire arts budget could be lost. However, Councillors felt that they would like to continue to support the theatres, albeit at a reduced level”
“The proposed reduction in theatre funding is part of the overall budget savings that the County Council has to make and a final decision will be made at a full County Council meeting on the 16th February”
The chief executive of the Theatre, David Bown has previously made a public response on the Harrogate Theatre website but it is our intention to follow this story with the Theatre’s response.
We would also like to encourage comments against this item.