OK, following the Theatre Pledge it’s time for a new campaign: Juice for the Arts.
Here is the plan. Currently the arts budget in the UK works out at 17p per person per week. This is the amount of VAT currently charged on this bottle of Juice. So, if enough of us make a pledge to the new coalition government to buy Juice for the Arts once a week then they in turn should promise not to carry through with the terrifying plans the Arts Council briefed all the region’s Regularly Funded [Arts] Organisations on Monday.
I can’t see a downside. The juice is delicious, keeps us healthy (though this Cranberry drink is weirdly non-nutritious), pays for the arts and supports Purity Soft Drinks based in The Black Country. Of course according to this plan when the new higher rate of VAT is introduced next year rather than looking at 25-30% cuts the arts will be looking at a 14% increase in funding.
“OK!” I hear you cry “We’re behind you on your Juice for the Arts campaign, how do we make it a reality?” Well, writing to your MP would be a good thing to do at the very least and if you know someone who isn’t an artist and they write to their MP they would count for about ten of us because “we would say that wouldn’t we”.
For those of you who think Juice for the Arts is a brilliant idea but too visionary for this amalgam of choppers there is something else you can do and it doesn’t even require the ‘bother’ of writing to your MP.
RFOs have been cut by 0.5% this year, it’s almost certain to be 10% next year and thereafter its going to get really very bloody. 25% is imagined to pretty much kill off everyone so it will have to be 100% for some with gaining some kind of reprieve. The provocative suggestion from one of our Board was to kill off one of London’s four orchestras, not just for the +£2,000,000 you’d save but because it would really stir up people who actually have some lobbying power. Anyway, back to it…
There is some good news if you are not an RFO and get money from Grants for the Arts. This money comes not from central government but from the lottery so not only is it not being cut, but there is a chance that it may grow. A while back the Olympics started to take a cut of Lottery cash and the proportion going to each of the ‘good causes’ was cut. The debate is now on, should the division be restored? A consultation is now on and YOUR VOICE is needed to argue for the arts getting back to where it was before. Please stay on-line and do your thing here.
Still reading and not gone and done your thing there? Well about-turn and do it because as soon as the axe comes down on the RFOs they’re going to be scrambling for that G4A cash and it’s going to turn pretty bloody bloody there too.
FINALLY. In my quest to find a quotidian product that costs £1.17 inc VAT I found a Pork Pie which cost 99p and is VAT exempt. This raises the possibility of a counter campaign VAT Pork for Art. Superficially you would imagine the proposed introduction of VAT on Pork Pies to pay the country’s art bill would encounter fierce opposition from the Pork Pie Manufactures lobby but they could be won around with the prospect of millions across the country upping their Pork Pie intake. Craig and I ran trials on Pork Pie consumption in the late Nineties whilst making Nightshifting and then The Hearing of Susan Tuesday with de Montfort University Students in Melton Mowbray and would be happy to endorse this campaign as well.
If you can think of anything better than Juice or Pork Pies which could pull us out of this crisis do get in touch.