Organisations in receipt of annual funding from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland (ACNI) have been notified that they will be allocated 50% of their funding as an interim measure to deal with the uncertainty of the exchequer budget 2017. In the absence of a Budget Act, the Permanent Secretary of the Department of Finance will use powers assigned to him under Section 59 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 to release cash to departments on an interim basis and until such times as a budget is agreed by ministers and budget legislation is put in place.
Funded organisations will receive only a percentage of their proposed allocation for 2017/2018. Organisations have also been notified that this measure must not be taken to indicate that funding will continue after this date or that, if it does continue, it will do so at the same level for the remainder of this financial year.
This leaves arts organisations in the precarious position of not knowing their funding situation for their full programme year. The Annual Funding Programme is divided into two distinct elements: core and programming. Core costs are met from exchequer funds and programming costs are from National Lottery funds. Whilst lottery funds are not immediately directly affected by the current budget issue, each organisation’s funding situation will have to be re-assessed against the outcome of the final exchequer budget.