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We announce our 2015 to 2018 investment plans

  • Date: 24 July 2013
  • Area: National

A new application process for organisations wishing to apply for Arts Council National portfolio and Major partner museum funding from 2015 to 2018 will open in January 2014.

The overall budget for National portfolio organisations and Major partner museums is anticipated to be reduced by five per cent in real terms in 2015/16. In order to maintain a dynamic cultural landscape across England, this means - as with the last investment process - that funding for some organisations could go up or down, others may not be funded and applications from new organisations will be welcomed.

Making an application

Organisations will be invited to submit applications during a three month window from early January 2014, with further information about the process, timeline and the criteria for making funding applications being made available in late autumn.

During this time we will set out details of all our available funding, including Grants for the arts and strategic funds, to enable those considering making an application to make informed decisions about whether National portfolio or Major partner museum funding is right for them.

Successful applicants will be welcomed into the portfolio for three years so they can continue to plan long term, however, we will only be able to confirm levels of funding for 2015/16. Funding levels for 2016/17 and 17/18 will be subject to the grant-in-aid settlement we receive from government for these years.

Looking at our investment

Over the coming months the Arts Council will continue to look at how we can make more flexible use of our National Lottery funds while preserving the important 'additionality principle' - that Lottery funding is distinct from government funding and adds value. We are also conducting an on-going opera and ballet analysis which will help us develop a more strategic approach to how the larger organisations in these sectors are funded.

We recognise that cuts to local authority budgets mean that many are facing tough decisions which may have an impact on arts and culture in their areas. During the investment process we will work closely with local authorities and other relevant partners to make informed decisions about our investment in arts and culture throughout the country.

Preserving a strong ecology for the arts and culture

Alan Davey, Chief Executive, Arts Council England, said: We received an above average settlement from government - a good result in tough times. There will be an impact from our reduced investment - some organisations will lose funding - but we are confident that we can preserve a strong ecology for the arts and culture across England. We will invest in organisations to thrive. Some may even see funding uplifts and we will welcome new organisations in.

“There is no benefit in ‘salami-slicing’ and spreading the funds too thinly to make a substantial difference to anyone.

“The arts and culture sector has illustrated time and time again the huge contribution that it makes to the quality of life and the economy of this country. Our message to applicants and to all our partners is that we must continue to be bold, to innovate and to think creatively so that we can continue to keep the work exciting and we can give everyone in England the opportunity to experience arts and culture.”

New capital grants

Today we also announce that there will be a fourth round of large capital grants from 2015, following on from the third which opens to applicants in October 2013. You can find out more about our wider Capital investment programme on the funding pages of our website.

Find out more: a new blog post

Alan Davey, the Arts Council's Chief Executive has written a post on the Guardian Culture Professionals blog, expanding on today's news. Click here to read it.