If arts funding was for the opera or ballet then most people would not lose sleep over their loss of public funding. But arts funding from Local Authorities is not about opera or ballet it is more likely to be modern dance for people with a learning disability or a safe alcohol free rock venue for those way to cool to go to youth clubs. The funding might support the local theatre but it is almost certainly funding acting troops who go into schools tackling issues like domestic violence and bullying through the use of theatre.
Art, drama and music traditionally have been ways of rebelling and expressing dissent in a way that petitions, reports, and letters can never capture. Performing arts can provide an awareness-raising experience and connect with sections of the community that are often described as hard to reach.
In my experience those who seek to give a voice to the young and disaffected, the old and socially isolated and the disabled and disparaged or discriminated against minorities know the value of small grants to support local arts projects. Others spout the rhetoric of engagement and empowerment but fail to put their money where their mouth is.