Art funding: Economic argument doesn't impress

April 25, 2013, 5:19 PM GMT+0

Voters are more convinced by 'art for art's sake' than any economic argument for public spending on the Arts - but even more are unconvinced either way

In an appeal for public funding of the arts, Culture Secretary Maria Miller recently implored arts organisations to make plain their economic, not artistic, value to Britain.

However, new YouGov research reveals that when it comes to persuading the public, Miller has her work cut out for her. Only a fifth (21%) are persuaded by the argument that the Arts deserve public money because of their economic merits. More Britains (31%) are convinced by the idea that public spending can be justified on the grounds of art's intrinsic and cultural value, but more still (37%) say neither economic nor cultural value provide a convincing case for tax-payer funded art.

And when asked how the Arts budget should fare amid government-wide cuts, fully 78% say the Arts should face cuts either the same as (56%) or bigger (21%) than other departments, while only 7% support protecting the sector from such cuts.

Last year the budget for the whole Department for Culture, Sport and Media was about 1% of the whole of the government’s budget, with the budget for the Arts themselves accounting for about seven pence in every one hundred pounds of public funding.

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