Public sector cuts: lost arts

It can be tough to ascertain the true impact of public sector spending cuts. Amidst the constant rhetoric assuring us of their necessity, voices that explain, in measured tones, quite how destructive our government’s approach really is, are often drowned out. Hence our interest in the Lost Arts website — an initiative designed to catalogue the extent of cuts to the arts and highlight the social, cultural, and economic cost to the country — as detailed by this Guardian article.

They estimate that, for every pound spent on the arts, two pounds are generated — Britain’s cultural life plays a large part in the desirability of the country as a tourist destination (let’s face it, people aren’t coming here for the weather). In that context, every cut actually impoverishes us all.

For the record, now might be a good time to debunk the saw trotted out by every government minister that the cuts are simply a necessary evil. Ask Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz. Put simply, our government are playing on the idea that, if a household is short of money, the thing to do is to make savings, therefore a governement needs to take the same approach.

Yet, according to Stiglitz, that’s precisely the moment when governments need to invest, in order to prevent a full-blown recession. We need only look across the water to Ireland to recognise the horrible consequences of such an approach. Economic collapse, in a remarkably short time, from Celtic Tiger to cringing pussycat. Our government’s mimicry of the approach taken in Ireland risks creating very similar circumstances to the ones seen over there.

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