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Sinn Féin lead demand for increased Arts spending

9 October, 2007


Sinn Féin West Belfast MLA Paul Maskey has called for per head Arts expenditure to be increased to at least £10 per person. He also emphasised that 'we are all beneficiaries of the Arts' and that for every £1 spent on the arts there is £3.60 returned to the local economy.

Mr Maskey said:

"The Arts community has worked tirelessly for many years with a miserly budget. Without them and their vision our communities would be a lot worse off.

"We are all beneficiaries of the Arts. The current spend per capita on arts in the North of Ireland is £6.13. This is about 50% of what is spent in the rest of Ireland, Scotland and two thirds of what is spent in Wales and England. I would like to see is this amount being brought into line with what is currently being spent on the rest of these islands. Sinn Féin would like to see the per capita spend rise to £10 per person.

"There are many benefits to society with a little extra investment in the arts. Organistions such as Feile an Phobail have contributed to the regeneration of West Belfast and has generated millions of pounds to an area of high deprivation, yet the funding has been cut over the last number of years.

"There are many organisations like these all over the North of Ireland who are assisting and aiding in the overall economic regeneration and social cohesion. It is essential that they are allowed to continue to do this in a proper funded environment.

"For every £1 spent on the arts there is £3.60 returned to the local economy and yet we still don't invest enough money to enhance this figure.

We need to recognise that more money invested in the arts means more income for all areas including many areas of high deprivation; more jobs; and more tourists. It means instilling pride within our communities and more children been given the opportunity to take part in the arts, and importantly it means more international recognition." ENDS

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