Arts under further pressure as Department for Culture, Media and Sport makes savings of around £73 million as part of the department’s further contribution to reducing the fiscal deficit.
The Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport, Jeremy Hunt, and his ministerial team have examined recent spending decisions, pilot schemes and other commitments, and decided that a number of projects should not now go ahead.
Projects for which funding is being cancelled include the British Film Institute (BFI) Film Centre. Although it is only nine months since Gordon Brown personally stepped in to commit £45m to the £166m project, its development is a major victim of the government's £10.5bn worth of spending cuts to tackle the fiscal deficit.
Hunt said: "We are facing an unprecedented financial situation in this country, and it is essential that we act now to reduce the country's debt. The cultural and sporting worlds, like everyone else, urgently need the country's finances to be returned to a sustainable position."
The government is still funding the building of a new film store to safeguard the National Film Archive yet the BFI's own response to the cuts suggests they will be taking a proactive approach to finding funding from other sources. They said: "In today's very challenging financial climate we understand the difficulty of making decisions of this kind and fully expect to play our part. We had already anticipated that the government would not be able to afford investment in the BFI Film Centre at this time and knew that we would face a challenge on the project, but we remain committed to taking it forward."
The fact the BFI is examining alternative methods of support and delivery is reflective of the wider arts in general. If we cannot rely on government funds to sustain projects, we must look to alternative sources of revenue. In continuing with the film centre the BFI does face a huge and now much harder struggle to raise the total cost. Yet it is this commitment to continuing in spite of government cuts that should act as a model for the sector as a whole.