We remain committed to seeing the Rose Theatre thrive whilst balancing the need to be financially prudent to match our reduced income and look forward to working with the current management team and trustees to achieve this aim.
The Liberal Democrats were proud to help set up the Rose Theatre over 10 years ago. A new five year funding deal was agreed with the council in 2015, and since then over £1.6 million funding for the Rose will have been provided by the council by March 2020.
As a financially responsible council, who have seen £66 million of funding from central government cut since 2010 and now receive zero, we, of course, have a duty to look at every aspect of our spending to ensure value for money. At the same time as funding cuts, we have seen a marked increase in the need for adult and children's social care services. It is never easy to prioritise one area of spending over another and any reduction in funding we provide to the Rose Theatre would be a particularly difficult decision.
- In the last 5 years Kingston Council has provided funding of over £1.6 million
- The council additionally wrote off outstanding debt of £1.7 million
- The council reduced the theatre’s rent from £150,000 to £35,000 in 2015
- Funding will continue at its current rate (£265,000 per year) until at least 2020
- The theatre receives £30,000 discretionary business rate relief, which is proposed to continue
- Currently the council also uses and pays for additional services, and this is proposed to continue
- Current proposals are to taper this funding to £177,000 in 2020/21 then £88,000 in 2021/22, falling to zero thereafter
- These cuts represent a cut to the theatre budget of 7.5% compared with a cut to the council’s budget of over 35% since 2010
- No final decisions will be taken by the council until February next year
What will happen now?
Our stepped approach to reducing funding is designed to allow the Rose management and trustees plenty of time to modify their operating model over the 3 years from now to become more financially sustainable and apply for external arts funding, as was agreed in 2015.
We invite the Rose leaders to come back to meet with us so we can have detailed discussions. Our offer, made in January, to use council resources to look at the operating model and help make the theatre financially sustainable in the long-term is still open.
For further information, please contact your local councillor by clicking here.