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PM urged to ‘choose Life over Art’ by prioritising social work

BASW’s chief executive Hilton Dawson has written to the prime minister to urge him to prioritise social work jobs and services at the expense of arts funding.

He made the plea to ‘give Life priority over Art’ in response to a group of philanthropists, who between them have given hundreds of millions to the arts, writing to the government to warn about the impact of huge cuts. In a related move the Arts Council warned that a 25% cut in arts funding over the next four years would mean the loss of at least 200 arts organisations.

In the letter to David Cameron Mr Dawson drew a parallel between the lobbying influence and wealth of philanthropists who choose to support the arts and low-key social work professionals carrying out complex and difficult work supporting vulnerable children and families.

‘The Arts are wonderful, life enhancing elements of any civilised society but I think that the able people who work in them and support them could create wonders with £100 million of the Arts Council £445 million budget,’ Mr Dawson wrote.

‘If the government save £300 million, that would still leave £45 million which would provide five child protection social workers for every local authority in England.’

The letter concluded: ‘Please recognise that social workers, so badly let down by the previous government, desperately need your priority to support their crucial work. Please give Life priority over Art.’