DCAL anticipates cuts across the board

25 Jan 2011     Last updated: 8 Oct 2014

Continuing NICVA’s series of consultation meetings with central government departments, the Department for Culture, Arts and Leisure presented to a crowded room to discuss the potential impact of the draft budget.

Edgar Jardine, Deputy Secretary and Michael O'Dowd, Head of Finance Branch of DCAL, delivered a presentation that outlined where proposed savings could be made but also the priorities for the next four years.

It was explained that as much protection will be offered to different arms-length bodies as possible, from smaller bodies like the Armagh Observatory right through to larger organisations such as Libraries NI, although there will be cuts made right across the board. 

Other priorities for the Department include the completion of the Metropolitan Arts Centre, the new regional sports stadia and the World Police and Fire Games in 2013. Mr Jardine also explained that community sport will receive a major push and protecting front line services will remain a constant issue.

The projects that DCAL will not be able to follow through with include;

  • Refurbishment of Belfast Central Library
  • Elite Facilities Capital Programme
  • Ulster Folk & Transport Museum Visitor Centre Refurbishment
  • Ulster American Folk Park Visitor Centre Refurbishment

Mr Jardine anticipated the amount of Lottery funding for sport and the arts to increase over the next four years, although he is aware that this will not offset the scale of the cuts. Other successful bids include the ‘Invest to Save’ fund that will see investment in community sports facilities and libraries and the Creative Industry fund that will see £1million per year for the next four years for arts funding.

Comments from the floor included identifying the need to diversify financial income and to recognise that strategic fundraising takes significant time and planning.

The trepidation over the use of Lottery funding for the sector was made explicit and it was explained that access to Lottery funding can also be very difficult for some organisations. There was a consensus that it should never be used as an excuse for reduction in government funding and how it was perceived that front line services will take a hit because DCAL’s administration unit is not taking enough of a hit.

A copy of the Department's presentation is available for download below, and links to reports of the other meetings, or details of those still to take place, are listed here.

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