Socialists (of all parties) like to caricature the debate about arts subsidies as being pro or anti the arts. The idea that unsubsidised art might be better than the subsidised alternative is a notion not even to be contemplated. If a theatre was not subsidised would it necessarily close? Or would it have to put on plays that the public actually wanted to see? There are plenty of successful unsubsidised theatres.
The critique on arts subsidies by Sir Kingsley Amis from over 30 years ago still applies. He said arts subsidies cause:
"...plays without plots, a canvas entirely covered with black paint offered as a picture, poems that are meaningless patterns of letters - I needn't go on."
Local councils around the country spew out vast sums of money in this area. Often Conservative councils have managed to maintain their art funding by being more efficient. I can understand why this is a point of pride. But whether their arts spending is of any benefit is dubious. In the ward I represent, Ravenscourt Park, there is POSK, the Polish Cultural Centre. It thrives with many artistic events. It has a theatre, a jazz cafe. There is dancing, cabaret, exhibitions. It has no sibsidy from the council or anyone else that I know of.