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Politics

Labour Is "Boasting" About Cutting The Arts Budget

"This is not something to brag about," said author Neil Gaiman.

Posted on
Reuters / UK Parliament

The Labour party has been criticised for "boasting" about its plans to cut the arts budget if it is elected in May's general election.

The party was responding to claims within a critical dossier on its spending plans released by the Conservatives on Monday.

The Conservatives said Labour has £20.7bn of extra spending it has not yet found a way to pay for, which Labour leader Ed Miliband said was "completely false".

The party's press team went through the dossier attempting to debunk various criticisms of its spending plans.

Tory dossier says abolishing married couples' tax allowance funds our business rates policy (p.68). It doesn't. Sloppy.

Labour Press Team@labourpressFollow

Tory dossier says abolishing married couples' tax allowance funds our business rates policy (p.68). It doesn't. Sloppy.

2:05 PM - 05 Jan 15ReplyRetweetFavorite

Tories say it's our policy to ban food waste from landfill - it's not our policy. Not agreed at NPF in July 2014, not in NPF document.

Labour Press Team@labourpressFollow

Tories say it's our policy to ban food waste from landfill - it's not our policy. Not agreed at NPF in July 2014, not in NPF document.

12:12 PM - 05 Jan 15ReplyRetweetFavorite

However, this pledge to go ahead with arts funding cuts hasn't gone down very well.

p.44 of Tory dossier says Labour will cancel cuts to the arts budget. We won't.

Labour Press Team@labourpressFollow

p.44 of Tory dossier says Labour will cancel cuts to the arts budget. We won't.

12:30 PM - 05 Jan 15ReplyRetweetFavorite

Writers like Neil Gaiman and Simon Blackwell have accused Labour of "bragging" about the cuts.

This is not something to brag about. RT @labourpress: p.44 of Tory dossier says Labour will cancel cuts to the arts budget. We won't.

Neil Gaiman@neilhimselfFollow

This is not something to brag about. RT @labourpress: p.44 of Tory dossier says Labour will cancel cuts to the arts budget. We won't.

12:20 AM - 06 Jan 15ReplyRetweetFavorite

@labourpress And you're proud of that? Jesus.

While others said the pledge might be enough to convince them to vote for someone other than Labour.

You just lost my vote. RT @labourpress: p.44 of Tory dossier says Labour will cancel cuts to the arts budget. We won't.

Nick Walsh@nickwalshbassFollow

You just lost my vote. RT @labourpress: p.44 of Tory dossier says Labour will cancel cuts to the arts budget. We won't.

10:19 AM - 06 Jan 15ReplyRetweetFavorite

.@labourpress why are you proud of this? Artists are the ones who try to keep public profiles on the values u represented, once upon a time.

Sabrina Mahfouz@SabrinaMahfouzFollow

.@labourpress why are you proud of this? Artists are the ones who try to keep public profiles on the values u represented, once upon a time.

6:37 PM - 05 Jan 15ReplyRetweetFavorite

Cancelled my @UKLabour membership because of the mindless bragging of @labourpress I'll spend the £4 a month on the arts you won't fund.

Benjamin Judge@benjaminjudgeFollow

Cancelled my @UKLabour membership because of the mindless bragging of @labourpress I'll spend the £4 a month on the arts you won't fund.

8:35 PM - 05 Jan 15ReplyRetweetFavorite

However, the party is standing by its pledge to cut the arts budget. On Monday, shadow chancellor Ed Balls told the BBC's World at One:

I'm afraid there will be no new money in 2015/16 for the Arts Council and for the culture budget over the plans we inherit because I have said very clearly the 2015/16 plans are our starting point and we will only spend more if we can find cuts elsewhere.

Jamie Ross is a Scotland reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Edinburgh.

Contact Jamie Ross at jamie.ross@buzzfeed.com.

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