Union's plea as Nottingham Playhouse ‘has funding cut from £433k to nothing’

Nottingham City Council is having to plug a £50 million hole in its finances
Nottingham Playhouse has had its funding cut Nottingham Playhouse has had its funding cut
Nottingham Playhouse has had its funding cut

A union has said it is “appalled” after reporting that the Nottingham Playhouse will have its funding reduced from £433,000 to nothing if proposed budget cuts are approved.  

Nottingham City Council issued itself with a Section 114 notice last November, effectively declaring itself bankrupt. 

This meant that all spending apart from on protecting vulnerable people and providing statutory services was suspended. 

The council is now in the process of reviewing £50 million worth of cost-cutting measures, which could include cutting its entire cultural budget for 2024/25. 

The Musicians’ Union, which represents over 30,000 people working in the music business, is now calling for Nottingham City Council to reinstate its cultural budget. 

While the £433,000 figure covers several years' worth of council funding, it’s understood that the Playhouse will lose £60,000 in funding if next year’s cultural budget is axed. 

Stephen Brown, the Musicians’ Union’s Midlands Regional Organiser, said: “The MU is appalled that Nottingham City Council has made its cultural budget the number one target for cuts to save the money it needs to, so it can try and balance its books. 

“Let’s be clear here, although we are appalled with the Council, the main culprit is the Government which has abandoned local authorities over the last 14 years, forcing them into bankruptcy and unable to fund services and deliver for local people.

“The first casualty is always the cultural budget, as councils see it as an easy target that no one will care about.

“This is wholly shortsighted because it will ultimately lead to extra pressure on other budgets that they do have a statutory responsibility for.

“It won’t save them any money at all in the long run, it will cost them.

“The links between culture and residents' well-being are universally documented, providing the basis for a better quality of life."

The statement continued: “Once this breaks down, it puts stresses and strains on other services as the mental health of people deteriorates.”

“We call upon the Council to reinstate its cultural budget in full to ensure the future of the cultural sector in Nottingham, and its cultural and residents’ wellbeing. 

“Once it’s gone, its gone and no one will thank them for that, it will be a shocking legacy for them to leave.”

The council’s final budget will be set at a meeting of all city councillors on March 4.