Local MP Maria Miller has called on the management of The Anvil Trust and Basingstoke Borough Council to find a way to work together for the good of the town, following the Council’s Budget announcements for the coming year; to ensure they do everything possible to safeguard and continue to build a bright future for the Haymarket and The Anvil, both important cultural community assets.
Since the pandemic started and the doors of The Anvil and The Haymarket were forced to close, the organisation has received important funding from Government through two grants of £246,000 and £123,000 from Arts Council England. This is part of the national £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund, which has supported thousands of cultural and heritage organisations to survive the closure of live performance due to the pandemic. In addition, whilst both organisations remains closed the Anvil Trust continued to receive a guaranteed grant of £790,924 from Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council in 2020/21. As part of the 2021/22 Council’s Budget, the Anvil will receive a maximum grant award of £395,462, reflecting concerns from Basingstoke Council regarding Anvil Arts financial planning and the Business Plan.
Basingstoke Council is one of the highest funders of the arts amongst lower tier authorities in the country. The Haymarket is a much loved local theatre and The Anvil is internationally recognised as one of the top 10 concert halls in Europe, bringing world-class artists to Basingstoke and giving the people of Basingstoke Borough access to the highest quality music, musicians and artists.
Local MP Maria Miller said ‘A large amount of tax payers money goes to fund The Anvil and the Haymarket so it is right that there has to be confidence in finance planning and the Business Plan produced by Anvil Arts. The Haymarket and The Anvil are both jewels in Basingstoke and our community needs Anvil Arts and Basingstoke Council to find a shared agreement on how to move forward as live performers start to plan for the future following the pandemic. The Council and the Board of the Trust need to work together for the good of our community. The reduced funding reflects the gap in agreement and a shared vision on future plans.
“Basingstoke Council has year in year out demonstrated its commitment to arts and culture, giving more than £20 million to The Anvil since it was built. The Concert Hall, the Theatre and the Council need to work together to find a sustainable way forward, ensuring they continue to be at the heart of the future plans for our town”.