Heritage makes ‘urgent’ call for clarity on States funding
A BLOCK of money has been allocated to Jersey Heritage and the Island’s arts and culture bodies in the newly published Government Plan, but it may be months before they know how much each of them will receive.
The plan allocates a 1% slice of the government’s budget which will replace all existing grants and address what it describes as the ‘much-needed maintenance of the Jersey Heritage offering, and arts and culture bodies’.
However, Economic Development Minister Lyndon Farnham, who is responsible for deciding which organisations will benefit from these funds, and by how much, told the JEP that he and Assistant Minister Montfort Tadier, will not ‘be rushing into any quick, arbitrary decisions’.
‘We will be sitting down with them all and deciding with them,’ he said. ‘We have not decided yet [how it will be divided up] but I am working with Deputy Tadier on that, as he is the Assistant Minister with responsibility for this area.
‘We are going to be communicating with the arts and culture bodies and organisations and working with them to decide how best to utilise that additional funding.’
Senator Farnham added that these communications would be taking place ‘over the course of the rest of this year’.
The chief executive of Jersey Heritage, Jon Carter, has said that, while he welcomes investment in the sector, clarity on how the money will be distributed is now ‘urgent’. He added that it would not be possible for Jersey Heritage to plan ahead without further information from the government.
‘We welcome the publication of the new Government Plan, which takes a step towards finding a funding solution for the Island’s arts, culture and heritage by committing to the States’ decision to spend 1% of government budget on the sector,’ he said.
‘We are keen to hear the details of what this figure covers and look forward to discussions with the government about how it will be allocated. These discussions will then enable us to put our own plans in place for the coming year.’
When asked if the allocation of funds would be set for the four-year duration of the plan, Senator Farnham said he would like to ‘create some certainty’.
‘I think we want to create some certainty moving forward, rather than look at it annually,’ he said. ‘It is very good news that we have been given an increase in funding for the arts and culture, and I would like to put in place a medium to long-term funding process that gives these bodies some certainty.
‘We are pleased to note that Elizabeth Castle is mentioned in the capital bids programme but await news of the other bids we submitted concerning Jersey Museum, Hamptonne Country Life Museum and La Hougue Bie,’ Mr Carter added.