DCAL cuts “widespread and unpalatable”?

The BBC reports on the evidence provided to a Northern Ireland Assembly Committee today by two Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure senior civil servants.  From the BBC report

Overall, the department’s current budget of £109m is projected to fall to less than £92m by 2014/15.

Speaking at a Stormont committee meeting on Thursday, [DCAL director of finance Deborah Brown] said the figures represented a cumulative cut of £46m over the budget period.

She said the department would [cut] its operating budget by 14% while its supporter bodies like the Arts Council and Sport NI face cuts of 18%.

She said grant giving bodies like Sport NI and the Arts Council would be “probably to able to accommodate budget reductions more quickly” whereas museums and libraries would need more time to make cuts as most of their cost are related to staff and buildings.

She said it was inevitable people will lose their jobs and that at some stage redundancy programmes will be needed in bodies like the Arts Council.

About 30% of DCAL’s budget is dedicated to libraries while 20% is spent on museums.

She said [if] museums and libraries avoided significant cuts, then the arts and sport would have to deliver more savings and that would have a “very significant impact” on those areas.

Another senior civil servant, Edgar Jardine, said that the minister Nelson McCausland had identified the Ulster Scots Academy as a priority project which should not be cut.

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