England’s Former Culture Secretary Criticizes Arts Council England for English National Opera Decision

By Francisco Salazar

Nadine Dorries is supporting the English National Opera after the Arts Council England cut all its public funding.

The former culture secretary took to Twitter and called the ACE’s withdrawal of funds a stunt” and said “it was shocking, lazy, and politically motivated.”

She said, “I’ve topped The Stage 100 for moving ACE funding out of London to regions of the country where not a penny is received to support the arts as part of leveling up and blamed for lazy, politically motivated decision making at ACE who shockingly cut £16m ENO grant. Also incorrectly state that funding was moved to north of England in one fell swoop. Totally incorrect. It was a 4-year programme starting with just £24m in first year. It was the ACE decision to attack ENO – culture secretary has no say where ACE funding is dire. If there ever was a case for the decision for arms length bodies to be brought under political control, ACE have just made it.

In a following tweet, Dorries added, “Totally agree. ACE pulled this as a stunt to try reverse leveling up and funding being transferred to poorer communities in the north of England. It’s lazy and political. Their money comes from you, the tax payer via Gov but only they get to decide where it is spent.” 

Following the tweets, the English National thanked Dorries for her support and said, “Thank you to Nadine Dorries for confirming that, despite ACE suggesting otherwise, the removal of our funding was not advised by the Gov. In light of this, it would be useful for ACE to provide evidence as to why this decision has been made, without an opera strategy in place.”

The comments come two months after the ACE announced that the English National Opera would no longer get national funds and would have to move out of England.