Sheffield band hits out at Government over funding for the arts

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A Sheffield band chosen to receive a taxpayer-funded grant has criticised the Government for ‘destroying’ the conditions which allow the arts to survive.

Band 65daysofstatic said it ‘leaves a bad taste in our mouths’ for the Government to hold it up as evidence of it supporting the arts.

The band labelled David Cameron’s administration a ‘hyper-Dickensian nightmare of a Tory government’, as it raised questions over details outlined in the funding announcement.

The Sheffield post rock group was one of 19 acts and songwriters announced by Business Secretary Sajid Javid as receiving between £8,000 and £15,000 to promote their music abroad under the Music Export Growth Scheme.

The band say it ‘appreciated’ the grant and it ‘will be put to good use’, explaining their funding proposal was based on plans for a potential American tour in support of their forthcoming sound track to the computer game No Man’s Sky.

The funding would cover ‘maybe a third of the deficit of the budget’, the group said.

But in a post on the band’s website, 65daysofstatic wrote: “The idea of 65daysofstatic being held up in any way as evidence that this hyper-Dickensian nightmare of a Tory government is apparently supporting the arts, when in actual fact they are destroying any kind of infrastructure for future creativity at the grassroots level and plunging the most vulnerable parts of society into further misery, leaves a bad taste in our mouths.”

The band also said: “The point here is absolutely not to complain that we as a band are not getting paid, but simply to point out that it is not accurate for this kind of funding to be held up as evidence of a government who is supporting the arts in this country when, in actual fact, they are destroying the conditions where it can even survive, never mind thrive.”

The cash awarded to the musicians will be matched by the music companies behind them, according to the UK Trade & Investment and Mr Javid.

But 65daysofstatic said it was the first it had heard of this detail.

It questioned whether officials had invented ‘non-existent extra funds from the music business to give the illusion of an industry that is growing in rude, capitalist health’.

Announcing the funding, the Government said the scheme was in its second year and was run by UK Trade & Investment and the British Phonographic Industry.

It claims 89 independent music companies had been awarded support, with the BPI estimating it had generated around £8.50 for every £1 invested.