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Lib Dem councillor calls for reduction of taxpayer funding for the Lichfield Garrick

A Liberal Democrat councillor says the subsidy given to the Lichfield Garrick needs to be reduced immediately.

The Lichfield Garrick
The Lichfield Garrick

Cllr Paul Ray’s comments come ahead of discussion at Lichfield District Council’s Cabinet on 12th February where the partnership with the theatre will be reviewed.

The local authority currently makes an annual payment of £250,000. Councillors will be debating whether to renew the agreement for the next two years.

Paul Ray
Cllr Paul Ray

Cllr Ray said the council needed to ensure active steps were being taken to make the theatre commercially independent.

“We have been campaigning and urging the Conservative district council over many years to ensure that The Garrick becomes more financially self-sufficient – and less reliant of the funding from the council taxpayers. 

“The Garrick is a great asset for the district but it receives a very large amount of funding from the council. It’s £250,000 of your council tax money this year – and this is just at a time when the Council is making cuts to its services.”

The councillor said the Lib Dems had proposed a three-point action plan:

  • The Garrick to employ a full-time development officer to raise commercial and sponsorship income and grant funding from bodies like the Arts Council.
  • Improve options for the Garrick to tap into the ‘conference economy’ and make use of the venue during the daytime.
  • Generate more income through an improved food and beverage offering at The Garrick.

Cllr Ray added: “The Garrick management does need to take serious steps to reduce its reliance on this taxpayer funding and the Conservatives need to maintain pressure to ensure that that happens.”

“Local taxpayers deserve this.”  

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  1. Sue Woodward

    6th February, 2019 at 12:23 pm

    Who’s been campaigning “for many years” over this, Cllr Ray? I can barely remember a single time you have raised this as an issue. In fact, it’s been Labour Councillors who have continuously raised our concerns that taxpayers’ money has been shovelled into The Garrick over the years. Why haven’t you discussed this with us if you’re so concerned? We suggested, amongst other things, that the City Council should consider funding. Have you followed this up? We have challenged the controlling group at Scrutiny meetings. Why didn’t you feed your comments into the recent Scrutiny Committee, for example? I have had numerous discussions with Cabinet members about it. Have you?

    You have to actually do some work on this at Council, at Committee, with partners, lobbying Cabinet members etc. One press release (before forthcoming elections) doesn’t make a campaign.

    And do keep up, Cllr Ray. The Garrick has a commercial/sponsorship Officer as you’d know if you’d attended the rekelant council meetings or even read the reports.

  2. Flossy

    6th February, 2019 at 2:22 pm

    Suggest bring in Forward Leisure as in Stafford Gatehouse & other Theatres mainly South of us. They understand the workings of Theatres & are known to LDC with leisure centres & Staffs Council swimming pools etc. This will save over £100K PA just on duplicated salaries & get more audience attractive shows in = less annual loss. Get the decent film side going & the live downloads now doing so well elsewhere = profit
    LDC have no choice but to pay up each year currently – this needs to change.
    The place needs real Trustees committed, who understand the workings, & regularly patronise the Theatre. Time for a laxative!

  3. Paul Ray - Cllr Chadsmead (Lib Dem)

    6th February, 2019 at 10:09 pm

    You obviously haven’t been listening/watching: I’ve raised many times at full council, Lib Dems have carried out research into another theatre as a comparison (Newbury) and shared with council, I’ve met with Cabinet member and trustees to discuss….including 10 days ago when I discussed the action points I propose

    My suggestions are designed to be constructive for a way forward.

    BTW the development officer is not full time – which is the point I’m making

  4. Colin Ball

    8th February, 2019 at 2:58 pm

    I realise that I’ve only been on the District Council since last July, but I’ve never heard Councillor Ray raise these points at any Full Council meeting that I’ve been at. I do know that Labour Party colleagues have been raising concerns about the very large amounts of funding for the Garrick Theatre for many years now – and it’s likely to feature again in our manifesto for the May elections. So, if you want action and continued pressure on this issue, then vote Labour in May.

    Colin Ball – Labour’s Lichfield City and District Councillor for Curborough.

  5. Darryl

    8th February, 2019 at 7:51 pm

    Honestly you lot, whether it’s been raised before or not, state your position and the possible outcomes for the Garrick if they came to fruition.

  6. Steven Norman

    10th February, 2019 at 9:37 pm

    If issues have not been raised by an individual councillor in the place they are elected to raise them then what its the point of the councillor?
    I think Labour Councillors are supporting the residents who, whenever they are consulted say they want the subsidy reduced – especially if they live in Burntwood where our Arts Space, The Brendewood Suite, was never replaced by the Conservative Administration at LDC.
    Between 2013/14 and 2016/17 the Garrick received well over £2 million in subsidy alone. It will get £1/2 a million over the next two years so it is quite an important issue for residents facing the maximum increases in Council Tax allowed by the County Council, the Police and the District Council Conservative administrations in April.

  7. AnnS

    10th February, 2019 at 11:48 pm

    Am i being naive to ask if this is a business why are tax payers subsidising it, particularly when only the fortunate benefit from its existence? We have propped it long enough. It’s about time they stood on their own two feet. There are more important community services suffering due to cuts that could do with financial support. The powers that be seem unable or unwilling to recognise this, probably because basic human needs don’t cover them in glory and accolades.

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