Funding for some of Birmingham's best-loved arts institutions could be cut next year.
Senior figures from the arts scene believe the city council is to freeze the annual inflationary increase on grants given to major organisations in 2005/6.
It is expected that the city's major arts institutions, such as the CBSO, Birmingham
Royal Ballet and the MAC, will altogether receive a grant of £5.2 million - the same as this year.
Stephen Maddock, the chief executive of the CBSO, said: "I have heard rumours that funding for the arts is to be frozen for next year. I would be surprised if that were the case, but I fear it is.
"We have always had an inflationary increase. We rely on the city council as one of our two main benefactors. Together with the Arts Council it provides 40 per cent of our income.
"To maintain an international orchestra is an expensive business and costs rise with inflation."
Coun Ian Ward, (Lab Shard End), the city council's shadow cabinet member for regeneration, said if it was the case the city council's arts champion Coun John Alden ( Con Harborne) should step down.
Coun Ward said: " The Tories and the Lib Dems would have effectively cut grants to art organisations because of there not being an inflationary increase. The arts organisations would not get any increase for inflation, even though there is likely to be a 2.1 per cent inflationary uplift for all not-for-profit voluntary organisations.
"So this would effectively be a two per cent cut to the major arts organisations. Councillor Alden would have either not made the case or lost the argument, in which case he should resign."
However, Coun Alden, who is the cabinet member for leisure, sport and culture, said it would be three weeks before a decision was made.
He said that if the rumours did prove to be correct, it would be because the council needed to divert more money into social services.
He said: "We have yet to decide how we are going to distribute this money and I hope to get a report from the assistant director of arts. When I have got this report I can agree or disagree.
"The city council has to decide on its priorities and it has been decided that a lot of extra money should go to social services. If people feel that I am not fighting for my cause, then so be it. They must understand that the city council has to live within its budget and that we don't have enough money for everything.
"And if for one year arts organisations don't get an increase, it's not going to be as serious as if we fail to find money for social services."