Arts and culture


Our nation is a world leader in culture and the arts. Innovative, challenging and exciting arts and culture improve people’s lives, benefit our economy and attract tourists from around the world.

Arts and culture strengthen communities, bringing people together and removing social barriers. Involving young people in the arts increases their academic performance, encourages creativity, and supports talent early on.

So it’s important that everyone can experience and take part in arts and cultural activities, whatever their social or economic background.

We recognise the importance of freedom of expression in the arts, which is why decisions about which cultural organisations and projects receive public funding are made independently (or at ‘arm’s length’) from government.

To help keep our arts in their world-leading position, we need to encourage mixed funding from a variety of sources, including philanthropic giving and fundraising, alongside public funding.


To support vibrant and sustainable arts and culture, we are:

The British Council also promotes British culture abroad.


The introduction of National Lottery funding in 1995 transformed funding for the arts.

From April 2012 we increased the share of National Lottery funding for the arts from 16.67% to 20%. Together with increased National Lottery income, this means that Arts Council England should receive £262 million of National Lottery funding in 2014 to 2015, compared with £151 million in 2010 to 2011.

Arts Council England receives both National Lottery funding and direct government (‘grant-in-aid’) funding:

  2010/11 2011/12 2012/13 (est) 2013/14 (est) 2014/15 (est)
Grant-in-aid 450,000,000 388,000,000 359,000,000 348,000,000 343,000,000
Lottery 151,000,000 182,000,000 243,000,000 260,000,000 262,000,000
Total 601,000,000 569,000,000 602,000,000 608,000,000 605,000,000

Government and National Lottery support for the arts will only ever make up part of their overall funding. We are encouraging the development of other sources of income including philanthropic giving (private donations) and independent fundraising.