sun 26/05/2024

Arts Council spared - but UK Film Council is to go | reviews, news & interviews

Arts Council spared - but UK Film Council is to go

Arts Council spared - but UK Film Council is to go

Film quango doesn't pass Jeremy Hunt's test for usefulness

The Arts Council of England has escaped the government axe - unlike the UK Film Council. Reports over the past week or two paint a grim picture of diminishing arts budgets in Scotland, Wales and England while the Conservative-Lib Dem Government takes its machete to what it considers the fat in public spending.

The ACE is already implementing a £23 million cut in its 2010-11 budgets originally set at £468 million - £4million ordered last year in Darling's budget, another £19million now. Detailed budgets for supported arts organisations will become clearer over the autumn.

In a written statement explaining the changes, Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt pointed out that his relatively small government department comprises a network of more than 50 public bodies. He applied the tests: Does it perform a technical function?; Does it need to be politically impartial?; and Does it act independently to establish facts? Public bodies which did not meet one of the three tests outlined would be brought back into departments or devolved if their function is necessary or abolished if not, he stated.

“Further work will be done in discussion with the bodies concerned and other interested parties over the summer to finalise the details and timing of these proposals. Where bodies are to be abolished we will look to transfer key functions to other existing bodies so as to continue to support our sectors and preserve the necessary expertise.

"This work will reduce the number of public bodies, increase the transparency and accountability of the remaining few, and ensure more effective delivery of public services.”

Hunt said he would be moving on to examine the heritage and architecture sectors: English Heritage, the Heritage Lottery Fund and the National Heritage Memorial Fund, the Churches Conservation Trust and the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment.


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