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Council culls culture funding

Food and Drink festival and Pride among biggest losers

Published on March 4th 2011.

Council culls culture funding

Several of the city’s arts and culture events have had their council funding cut off.Manchester's Food and Drink Festival, the annual Pride Parade, The Manchester Comedy Festival, Queer Up North and the Family Friendly Film Festival will all have their funding withdrawn.

Manchester town hall chiefs have had to review the list of events they give cash to as the council strives to save £170m over the next two years.

Other events, however, such as St George's Day, Chinese New Year, the Christmas lights switch-on, the Manchester Jazz Festival and Manchester Day will keep their funding.

The Eurocultured arts festival will lose the £7,500 it receives from the council. Manchester International Festival is not affected.

The Pride Parade should also go ahead despite losing £32,000 of the £600,000 the whole event costs to stage.

A spokesperson from Manchester Pride said: “Pride is a vital event in the civic calendar but Manchester, like every local authority, is facing some tough financial choices.

“Losing the council’s grant is a frightening prospect because we’d rather focus on creating a spectacular event than fund-raising to fill a gap. Come what may, Manchester Pride’s 21st birthday will be one to remember.”

The Food and Drink Festival will lose £32,000 from its £200,000 running costs although organisers said it would go ahead in 2011. The Comedy Festival and Queer Up North will both lose £25,000.

Councillor Rosa Battle, Manchester council's assistant executive member for culture and leisure, said: “Manchester's world-class events programme is rightly praised across the city, the country and indeed the world.

“We are still committed to providing funding to events across the city, but the nature of the government's financial settlement means we cannot offer the same level of financial support to all of those who previously received funding from us or help new event ideas along as we might previously have been able to do.

“In coming to these decisions, we have taken on board a number of factors, such as the likelihood of the events taking place without funding and the community element of the festivals.”

The Council will continue to support:

St George’s Day

Caribbean Carnival of Manchester

Manchester Summer Mega Mela

Diwali Mela

International Women’s Day

Pensioners’ Christmas Party

Holocaust Memorial Day

Chinese New Year

Irish Festival Parade

Manchester Day

Christmas lights programme (including lights switch-on) FutureEverything

24:7 Theatre Festival

Manchester Literature Festival

X-Trax Street Theatre Festival

Manchester Jazz Festival

The council will not fund the following events:

Eurocultured Festival with Brazil Now!

¡Viva! and Exposures

Queer Up North

Manchester Comedy Festival

Family Friendly Film Festival

Manchester Food and Drink Festival

Manchester Pride Parade

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17 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

AnonymousMarch 4th 2011.

Think the £600k refers to the entire cost of staging the entire Pride festival (including the big weekend), rather than just the cost of the parade.

M30March 4th 2011.

And it's so important for Manchester City Council to fund the Irish Festival Parade considering it's the Irish who tried to bring Manchester to its knees in 1996.

Jonathan Schofield - editorMarch 4th 2011.

M30 that is a ridiculous statement. I think it was the IRA not all the Irish population. Your comments on Confidential frequently bring race into an argument when there is no cause to do so. You seem to mistake the actions of individuals as representative of a larger whole. That's simply foolish, so please desist from comments like the one above.

Eddy O'ReillyMarch 4th 2011.

@M30 I have long thought you to be an idiot. The above comment has confirmed it.
( @Editor - please feel free to delete my comment if you feel it to be excessively rude or defamatory)

BanesMarch 4th 2011.

Gotcha M30.

Wasn't it English soldiers who butchered civilian protesters at Peterloo? Stop funding St Georges Day!

And wasn't it often Mancunian businessmen who had the city's working class toiling in inhuman conditions in their mills throughout the industrial revolution? Stop funding Manchester Day!

More to the point didn't I drop a hardback Anthony Burgess book on my toe only last year, blackening the nail to the point that it fell off!? Stop funding the Manchester Literature Festival!

That said, I do think both the rationale and the selection of those events who do and don't get funding seems random, confused and fundamentally wrong.

Either support those festivals who support themselves (through a strong commercial focus on driving non-public revenue), or make the decision purely based on how the events benefit the city and it's communities.

I know these are difficult times for everyone but this approach seems a mish-mash.

I hate to split hairs but....March 4th 2011.

Banes, it was the Yeomanry actually, at Peterloo, not the British Army - although the Hussars arrived on the scene later. The Yeomanry were a bunch of armed amateurs not the regular, professional army. And note it was the British Army, which was often filled with Celts. So you're slightly wrong, but I like your thinking and M30 is plainly deranged.

BanesMarch 4th 2011.

I thank you for the educational clarification Mr/Ms Hairs-But, though it only makes me wish that we had a Yeomanry Day for which we could cut funding with immediate effect.

English LordMarch 4th 2011.

As both a gay man and someone who has eaten food once or twice in his lifetime I can't quibble with the cuts to Manchester Pride, Queer Up North and the Manchester Food & Drink Festival.

The Village businesses make thousands of pounds from the event and should surely be able to cover the shortfall and Manchester's restaurant community should also be able to band together without council funding to help promote each other.

Current affairMarch 4th 2011.

Should we have a Cuts Day? It's the most talked about thing at the moment.

M30March 4th 2011.

Absolutely no need to make personal attacks when I've only made an observation. The terror of the IRA is still very fresh in the minds of many people, and to be branded an "idiot" because I can forgive but not forget is both offensive and myopic. My point was that Manchester City Council can fund festivals of foreign culture, yet are withdrawing funding for Manchester Pride, an events which puts Manchester on the map, nationally.

Where is the line to be drawn?

Smyth HarperMarch 4th 2011.

M30 how bloody dare you. It was not "the Irish" that tried to bring this city to its knees in 1996. The Irish community in this city always have - and always will - rejected and repudiated en masse the terror campaigns of the IRA/PIRA/RIRA/CIRA/INLA/UVF/UDA/LVF and so on. They did so throughout the troubles, and still do now.

As has every decent Irishman and woman, many of whom suffered directly at the hands of these thugs throughout the troubles (including members of my own family, one of whom was kidnapped by "Irish" terrorists and one of whom was tortured by "loyalist" terrorists).

Maybe you should think about the slur you've made against the proud Irish Mancunians in this city and apologise.

Jonathan, thanks for pulling him up.

Jonathan Schofield - editorMarch 4th 2011.

M30 as the editor I'm getting tired of your comments. We are a modern city in the West of Europe and therefore have a mix of populations, which makes us an interesting city. If you want a monoculture maybe try Tromso in the north of Norway which is lovely but very staid. When you write about 'festivals of foreign culture' you fail to see that those cultures are no longer 'foreign' if emanating from settled populations within Manchester. You simply fail to understand the process of history and especially the history of this city from the Industrial Revolution onwards.

AnonymousMarch 4th 2011.

The council now needs to trim back the staff who administer all this 'arts' funding. And believe me, they don't stint when it comes to 'arts' related staff at the council - it is subject to the normal local government overstaffing arrangements which means not much work for each person and the spare time filled with conferences and seminars of dubious relevance and value in pleasant locations.

Gay ManchesterMarch 7th 2011.

Pride brings a lot of money and recognition to the city every year. It would be interesting to compare the council's contribution against the increased business rates that they bring in due to the bars and clubs doing so well during this period.

Oh and M30 - you are a completely closed minded, simplistic idiot!

AnonymousMarch 7th 2011.

Gay Manchester - local authorities don't raise business rates, they merely collect them. Business rates are set by central government and the collected cash goes to central government.

Christopher BryanMarch 8th 2011.

And business rates don't vary. They are to do with the size and value of the property you occupy regardless of the businesses revenues.

So wouldn't be interesting at all really.

AnonymousMay 11th 2011.

Maybe we should also "trim" the press office at the council which seems to gag its workers and rules by fear too?!! Why do we need 2 deputy leaders too?? And a Chief exec on 232k p.a? from the conversations ive had recently some staff seem to be terrified of opening their mouths whilst others are slowly whistleblowing? I think they forget that freedom of speech reigns supreme under the Human Rights Act?! It overrides any council "policy"! M30 is entitled to his/her comments by the way too, we do live in a democracy lets remember this yes even the BNP deserve a say, supporter of them or not, everyone also deserves a right to reply whether it suits the editor or not. We need to cut far more waste here in this city its sad how people keep falling for the blame game though the council have to look at themselves too even moreso, blame wears thin and doesnt get them brownie points. I would suggest cutting bmx track (24m) Urbis National Footie Museum (8m) town hall extension (160m) Central Library refurb (20m) funding part of Co-op banks new H/Q (20M) and landscaping land around thereof ( further 12m) Manchester International Arts Festival (8m) new Cornerhouse cinema (19m) sell the airport off!!, not write off 12m worth of council tax bill arrears, charge Man Uni for land in Hulme which was given to them free of charge, etc etc there you go add it all up and redress the balance, loads more examples....can i have a job now as chief finance officer cos cllr Bernard Priest doesnt seem to know how to add up!

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