Government cuts for arts programs in UK universities meets outcry

Chelsea College of Art and Design
As if the pandemic didn't do enough damage to the world of art, a new blow has been dealt against it, this time by the British government.

It's Gavin Williamson, the UK's secretary for education that announced it first, a 50 percent decrease in the strategic priorities budget allocated to arts (drama, visual arts, music) as soon as next September. 


Now, this doesn't mean that the total funding will be cut in half but rather a cut to a specific stream allocated to high cost fields of education which, according to the Office for Students (OfS) the cut would represent a 1% drop in allocated funds.


In a letter to the OfS, Williamson explained that : “These changes will help ensure that increased grant funding is directed towards high-cost provision that supports key industries and the delivery of vital public services, reflecting priorities that have emerged in the light of the coronavirus pandemic”


After a year and a half of financial drought for the arts sector, this announcement was, as you might imagine, received with a massive uproar, a petition against the decision garnered 166.000 signatures.


Naomi Pohl, the deputy general secretary of the Musicians’ Union, told the Guardian : “This news is frankly the last straw for our members, many of whom have survived without any government support and barely any work for the past 18 months."

The outcry is further amplified by a recent decision to also cut the London weighting allowance that granted financial aid to teachers and certain students that have to live in London and its pricey housing.