From 2020, the Jambon I government foresees a minscule 0.31% of its entire budget for the Arts Decree. The lowest percentage ever.
The policy area Culture, Youth, Sport and Media contributes 17% of the total cuts on subsidies, while this policy area represents only 3% (2018) of the total expenditure of the Flemish government. This weighs disproportionately heavy on the sector.
In the past 10 years, a total of 25 million has already been taken away from the Arts Decree. This reduced the total budget to 160 million in 2019 (by way of comparison: the Flemish subsidy budget for companies amounts to 400 million).
From 2020, another 10 million will be deducted from this budget: the seven large Flemish art institutions lose 3%, subsidised organisations and companies 6%, the flanders arts institute 8%, project subsidies 60%.
The project subsidies are the lifeline of the arts. Nevertheless, they are always the target of
savings. In 2018 there were still 12 million for them, in 2019 there were only 8.5 million, so after these savings there were only 3.4 million. (By way of comparison, Flanders contributes 40 million euros a year to the energy bills of large polluting companies such as ExxonMobil and Total, from the Climate Fund!).
In the meantime, some claim that artists are rich. Nothing could be further from the truth: a recent study shows that visual artists only earn an average of € 13,786 net per year in 2014. A quarter of them have an annual income of € 7,000 or less. The income of performing artists (€ 17,142),
directors and screenwriters (€ 18,000), actors (€ 19,000) and authors or musicians (€ 20,000) is also
very limited compared to other sectors: the median for all taxpayers is € 24,664.
The social sector and civil society lose 3% and 6% of their subsidies. SAM, an expertise centre that assists social workers in the field loses 27% of its resources.
The Brussels Fund, which supports many social and cultural organisations in Brussels, loses 40% of its resources. Some of these savings will be postponed until 2021, but a large part of the resources will already disappear in 2020.
The ‘care and welfare’ policy area loses 1.3%, or 300 million euros. Childcare and youth work are particularly targeted. The Centres for Mental Health should also save 1.3 million. CAW (first-
line care centre) loses 5 million.
The newly established Flemish Journalism Fund and the Media Academy will be abolished. From now on there is only the Pascal Decroos Fund for independent journalism to supports investigative journalism with very limited resources. The VRT has to save 44 million by 2024.
The Flemish integration memorandum states that ‘ethnic-cultural organisations’ can no longer receive subsidies. According to the government, the reliance on one’s own ethno-cultural background would lead to segregation, whereas these organisations were applauded two years ago for their unifying effect. Flanders is also abandoning its link with the current Minority Forum, which will probably be re-established in a different form. Flanders is also leaving Unia, the inter-
federal equal rights institute, and wants to set up its own initiative.