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Arts funding cuts reversed following November budget

Funding cuts to leading arts groups, including the Grand Opera House, have been reversed following the executive's November budget

FUNDING cuts to some of the north's most high-profile arts organisations have been reversed following the executive's November budget.

Last month it was revealed that 32 of the biggest arts groups, including the Lyric Theatre and MAC in Belfast and the Playhouse Theatre in Derry, would face funding cuts of seven per cent after the budget of the Arts Council was cut by a further £870,000.

However, culture minister Carál Ní Chuilín announced yesterday that she would reinstate £620,000 to the Arts Council.

The money will be passed on to the 32 organisations. The Arts Council has absorbed the difference between the original £870,000 funding cut and the £620,000 of reinstated funding.

Ms Ní Chuilín said on Thursday a further £320,000 will be given to Sport NI.

She said the money has come from funding reallocations as part of the November monitoring round.

"As I have said consistently, the cuts to our block grant by the Tory Government in Westminster are causing huge difficulties for the Executive and are having a detrimental effect on front-line services," she said.

“I pledged to do my utmost to secure additional funding so that some or all of this money could be reinstated.

“I made a strong case for the reinstatement of this money and I am pleased that the finance minister, Arlene Foster, took this into account when making reallocations during November Monitoring. I thank her for listening to the arguments which I made."

The Arts Council welcomed the funding announcement.

"The Department for Culture, Arts and Leisure has been able to confirm that £620,000 will be allocated to the Arts Council to reinstate grants to the 32 organisations affected by earlier in-year cuts," a spokeswoman said.

"We appreciated greatly the opportunity to meet with the minister in October when we conveyed the Arts Council's and the sector's deep concerns at the impact of the in-year reductions. There will be a sense of relief shared by those affected by today's announcement.

"The Arts Council will, as ever, continue to support the minster in her efforts to bring public funding for the arts to the level at which they should be, to achieve the full potential of the arts in the lives of all the people."

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