Cardiff Council budget proposals (Dec 2015)

Summary of what to do:

  • Act before the budget consultation ends – 11 Jan 2016
  • Do this as an individual, organisation, group, sector, etc and encourage others to do the same!
  • Below there are some key points you might like to use, or write your own



What Cardiff Council are proposing

Cardiff Council budget website pages, including full info, short video, process timeline, etc


  • Stated £115m savings over next three years, in addition to what’s already been saved/ cut in previous years (approx £100m in last three years)
  • Cuts to the arts and culture of more than £700,000
  • Including Artes Mundi, Cardiff Singer of the World, Cardiff Contemporary and Arts Active (charitable trust doing education/ outreach for St David’s Hall and New Theatre) – total £143,000
  • Also intended removal of £430,000 to arts venues across the city, and reference to a “review of costs, income and service delivery in arts venues” in Cardiff
  • Other savings include removing the budget for arts grants to organisations, which is currently £68,000
  • This is in addition to previous years’ decisions, including tendering out St David’s Hall and the New Theatre to new operators
  • Further detail in piece from The Stage also covering context for Arts Council of Wales budget cut


Council public consultation process 

The budget was debated by councillors on 10 December, and it is now out for public consultation.

  • Consultation ends on 11 January at 23:59 (midnight on 12 Jan)
  • Once consultation is done, process is:
    • Scrutiny committees in February, including 15/16 Feb for Economy and Culture
    • Cabinet meeting on 18 Feb
    • Full council meeting on 25 Feb

Responses can come from individuals and organisations, or from the sector, a group of people/ organisations, etc. You can do that via all or any of these methods:


A clear set of messages we can present to the council as citizens, organisations and the sector

These are just some of the points you could make: please pick which ones best fit your needs and add to them as well.

  1. Cardiff as the most liveable city in Europe

Leader of the council, Cllr Phil Bale, and others often talk about Cardiff’s liveability, using the phrase about it being or becoming the most liveable city in Europe. In Cardiff’s 10 year strategy, Cardiff Proud Capital, one ambition of the eight is that the city should be a great place to live, work and play. The arts and culture make a huge contribution to that ambition; but the sector also helps to deliver against many more of these goals (eg community cohesion, educational attainment).

  1. Wales as Europe’s most creative small nation

Wales is no longer a country with heavy industry and manufacturing; creativity is going to be at the heart of the world’s economies in the 21st century. And creativity, arts and culture are already an acknowledged driver for the economy in the capital – from BBC Roath Lock’s drama output, to No Fit State Circus touring the world, to Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama training the next generation of on- and off-stage talent.

  1. Arts and culture as driver for tourism

We know that visitors flock to Cardiff because of a whole range of things including sport, but the city’s culture is what makes it truly distinctive. From the largest collection of Impressionist paintings outside Paris in National Museum Wales’ collection, to the city being home to two symphony orchestras, Cardiff is a capital with status and profile because of its arts and culture. Ask any visitor or tourist in the street and they want to go to our museums, theatres, concert halls, galleries.

  1. Cardiff, the nation’s capital

Being a proud capital city, Cardiff is home to many of the nation’s arts and cultural organisations. The national opera company (WNO) residing in the national centre for the performing arts (WMC); National Theatre Wales based in Castle Arcade; alongside the National Museum, National Dance Company Wales, the national concert hall (St David’s Hall) and many more. To be credible, and have status and profile, as the nation’s capital we must retain and invest in these assets.

  1. Cardiff as the lead for culture for the UK Core Cities group

BOP recently published a report about culture in the UK Core Cities, for which Cardiff acts as the lead. Other Core Cities invest heavily in arts and culture, through financial investment and other ways, including Bristol which is the first local authority to sign an MOU with Arts Council England. To be credible in this forum, Cardiff must been seen to lead on culture and the arts.

  1. Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015

The important new piece of legislation enshrines “a Wales of vibrant culture” as one of the seven well-being goals for the people and the country. There is evidence in fact that arts and culture deliver against each of the six other goals too – prosperity, resilience, health, equality, community cohesion and global responsibility.

  1. “False economy of deep cuts to the arts”

The figures are clear when it comes to value and return on investment for the arts and culture. Even a Conservative Chancellor, George Osborne, understands this – for every £1bn invested in the arts and culture, the return to the economy is £250bn. “One of the best investments we can make as a nation is in our extraordinary arts, museums, heritage, media and sport,” he said (via BBC).

  1. 50p for culture
    In 2013, an IPSOS Mori poll showed that 63% of people asked wanted their local to invest at least 50 pence per person per week on arts and culture. Added to which, the sector has moved significantly in the last few years towards new models of business operation, efficiencies and income generation, meaning that investment now returns even more than before. Peter Bazalgette, the chairman of Arts Council England, said the Treasury had listened to and recognised the “positive benefits the arts confer on society in terms of education, tourism, regeneration, economic impact, quality of life and Britain’s brand abroad”.
  1. Adverse impact on people with protected equalities characteristics

The council must acknowledge the legal duty it has to ensure equality for people with protected characteristics, and how these proposals will affect those people, either directly or indirectly (eg in terms of age, disability, Welsh language).

  1. Additional two page document, created by WhatNext? Cardiff, as a tool to engage all political parties when writing their manifestos for the Welsh Government elections in May 2016. Many of these points could be adapted and used to be Cardiff specific.


Cllr Phil Bale, leader of Cardiff Council – Q&A The Sprout

Does the council have a ten year arts and culture strategy, would such an idea be considered if not?

“Cardiff’s got a great tradition of hosting big sporting and cultural events and it’s something that we see now with the Rugby World Cup (RWC), that there’s a great opportunity for us to showcase Cardiff and Wales to a wider audience, when we embrace sport and we embrace culture. What we are doing now not just in Cardiff itself, is working closely with other arts organisations to develop a strategy in light of the fact that we’ve got less money, but we’re also talking to other big cities in the UK, and the arts councils in England and Scotland and Wales, to see how we can work together across the UK as cities, to make sure we’ve got a good cultural strategy for not just Cardiff, but actually for big cities across the UK at the moment. So it’s an area that we are committed to and also want to develop more, in partnership with other organisations.”

What are your plans for the near future, so where do you aim to take this city?

“We’ve got an important role as the driver, not just of Cardiff as a capital city, but of the whole of the wider region. So Cardiff and the surrounding area accounts for half of the Welsh economy, and we want to make sure that as Cardiff grows, we’re the fastest growing city in the UK at the moment, that we maintain the quality of life that we’ve got in Cardiff. We’ve got a strategy now around creating one of Europe’s great liveable cities, one of Europe’s great quality of life cities, and we’re committed to delivering on that.”


Other information, resources, ideas, tools:

Culturecounts (campaign for the arts/ culture in Scotland)

Official statistics on spending by category for each local authority in Wales