Independent Publishers are warning that because of the dramatic reduction in Arts Council funding as result of the Government's Comprehensive Spending Review some of them could go out of business
The culture secretary Jeremy Hunt has asked the Council to pass on cuts of no more than 15% over four years to the organisations it funds, absorbing the rest itself, and the council's chief executive Alan Davey wrote to organisations yesterday to say it was his intention 'to try and limit any cut in the first year to less than 10%'. But Davey also stated the cuts would 'inevitably have a significant impact on the cultural life of the country'.
Gary Pulsifer of publisher Arcadia, which specialises in translated fiction, said in the Guardian: 'I honestly think a lot of arts organisations will go to the wall.' Pulsifer said Arcadia would be cutting back on the number of translations it publishes – having already seen cutbacks because overseas national literary organisations have reduced their support for English language translations of their books.
Eric Lane of Dedalus Books, which also translates literary fiction, said the cuts had come at an especially tricky time. 'The market is narrowing at the moment. Waterstone's is the major outlet in terms of bookshops and if they don't give a book core status, it almost guarantees it will be a commercial failure,' he said. 'Small sums of public money make a big difference.
Chris Holifield of the Poetry Book Society said the cutbacks would have a 'significant' effect.
The Arvon foundation's director Ruth Borthwick lamented the effect that the funding cut would have on the accessibility of the organisation's creative writing courses. 'We will be able to offer less support to people who can't otherwise afford to come,' she explained. 'Although we will do everything we can to bridge the gap through fundraising, once again the poorer people are going to suffer more than anyone else.'