BASINGSTOKE'S MP is calling on Anvil Arts and Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council to 'find a way to work together' to safeguard the The Anvil and Haymarket theatres, following the council's decision to slash its funding to the organisation by 50 per cent.

As part of the 2021/22 council budget, the Anvil will receive a maximum of £395,462, reflecting concerns from Basingstoke Council regarding Anvil Arts financial planning and business plan.

Speaking to the Gazette about the move, Maria Miller said: "A large amount of tax payers money goes to fund The Anvil and the Haymarket so it is right that there has to be confidence in finance planning and the Business Plan produced by Anvil Arts."

She continued: "The Haymarket and The Anvil are both jewels in Basingstoke and our community needs Anvil Arts and Basingstoke Council to find a shared agreement on how to move forward as live performers start to plan for the future following the pandemic. The Council and the Board of the Trust need to work together for the good of our community. The reduced funding reflects the gap in agreement and a shared vision on future plans."

Mrs Miller added that she saw the borough as one which has successfully maintained a strong reputation for the entertainment to date, which cannot be lost as a result of this hurdle.

She said: "Basingstoke Council has year in year out demonstrated its commitment to arts and culture, giving more than £20 million to The Anvil since it was built.

"The Concert Hall, the Theatre and the Council need to work together to find a sustainable way forward, ensuring they continue to be at the heart of the future plans for our town."