FUNDING for the arts in East Cambridgeshire took a further blow this week when it was discovered that an ADeC trustee had voted in favour of a huge budget cut that will devastate the service. Conservative councillor and Arts Development in East Cambridge
FUNDING for the arts in East Cambridgeshire took a further blow this week when it was discovered that an ADeC trustee had voted in favour of a huge budget cut that will devastate the service.
Conservative councillor and Arts Development in East Cambridgeshire (ADeC) trustee Anna Bailey voted against her colleagues on the board in favour of her ruling party to agree a massive £70,000 cut in council cash for the arts.
The newly-elected councillor, who had only attended one meeting of the trustees, toed the party line, slashing the arts' budget by 40 per cent and leaving its future hanging in the balance.
Her vote was crucial because it pushed the cut through with a five votes to four majority.
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And it came despite the council receiving an unexpected £106,000 windfall from the Government which it decided to split between other charitable organisations rather than allowing some of it to offset the ADeC grant cut.
Now there has been a call for Cllr Bailey's resignation as fellow trustees of ADeC try to pick up the pieces following a decision which has left its budget in tatters.
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Dr Peter Hoare, former ADeC volunteer and duty manager at The Maltings' cinema, said: "Anna Bailey should resign. She behaved splendidly as a Tory but how can her decision be fair to the other trustees?
"This whole thing has been done very shabbily. It could have been handled more sensitively."
Cllr Bailey's vote at East Cambridgeshire District Council's community services committee on Thursday night came after she had already declared an interest in ADeC.
"I was in a very difficult position and I did consider abstaining," she said. "I have an interest in the arts and I am a very keen user. I represent the interests of the council on ADeC and this was a very difficult decision for the entire council to take.
"At the end of the day we have got to try to salvage something from this and it is an opportunity to support ADeC. I know how bizarre that sounds from someone who has just agreed a £70,000 cut, but ADeC does have some problems promoting what it does and getting people to understand what it does."
ADeC director, Jane Wilson, said trustees would discuss the future of Anna Bailey's role on the board.
"They will need to give it their consideration," she said. "She is a new trustee and there is a need to develop her understanding.
"I am disappointed that the council has chosen to make this level of saving in this way. It could have been better handled. Now we need to work with the council to see what can be delivered.