‘Wandsworth must reverse cuts threat to Battersea Arts Centre’
Mayor Livingstone states his case against the cut of funding for Battersea Arts Centre
Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, today joined with local MP Martin Linton, local trade unionists and leading figures from the arts world in calling on Wandsworth council to reverse its decision to cut all funding from Battersea Arts Centre.
On 10th January 2007 Wandsworth Council decided to cut 100% of its funding for the Battersea Arts Centre (£100,000) and impose charges of £270,000 a year for rent and running costs for the centre.
Battersea Arts Centre has earned an international reputation for excellence in the arts and is one of the country’s leading arts organisations. The centre is also a highly valued resource for Wandsworth residents. The centre invests £300,000 in local schools and involves thousands of children in the borough in arts programmes. BAC recieves approximately 220,000 visitors every year, 100,000 of which are local residents. The centre brings in £2 million worth of vital investment in Wandsworth’s cultural sector.
Ken Livingstone said:
‘Wandsworth council must immediately reverse its decision to cut all funding from Battersea Arts Centre. If it carries out its threat, the major cultural, social and economic benefits which the Battersea Arts Centre delivers so successfully may be lost forever.
‘Wandsworth council recently recognised how valuable the Battersea Arts Centre is when it said in a report, 'Battersea Arts Centre provides a range of benefits to local residents, workers and students, and attracts visitors to the Borough.’ That is precisely why so many supporters of Battersea Arts Centre, in Wandsworth and around the country, have expressed their opposition to the threat of a massive cut.
‘The threat to Battersea Arts Centre goes hand in hand with the announcement of cuts to Wandsworth Museum. The museum is and highly valued and popular local resource for the community. The attack on Battersea Arts Centre appears to be part of a wider cuts agenda being carried out by Wandsworth council, which threatens to cause real damage to the borough.’
Battersea MP, Martin Linton pictured left said:
Julia Brandreth, Battersea and Wandsworth Trade Union Council (BWTUC) organiser said: ‘Edward Lister has referred to Wandsworth museum ‘as a non-essential service’ and presumably thinks the same about the arts centre. We think it is wholly unacceptable that the arts are seen in this way. Battersea arts centre is an institution in the area and its closure is not something the community will accept. The Trade Union movement will work with all interested parties to fight this closure. BWTUC represent thousands of trade unionists in Wandsworth. We are concerned about the impact on local jobs if BAC closes. We are also concerned that thousands of Wandsworth school children will lose educational services.’
Dominic Cooke, Artistic Director, Royal Court Theatre, said:
Tom Morris, Associate Director National Theatre, former director of BAC, said: