Hunt warns cultural sector to prepare for cuts - Museums Association

Hunt warns cultural sector to prepare for cuts

Government reveals a reform of arts funding, but a tough public spending settlement
Jeremy Hunt has promised cultural organisations more lottery money, longer funding settlements and a drive to increase philanthropy but warned that “tough” spending cuts lie ahead.

In his first keynote speech as culture secretary, Hunt outlined the government’s plans for the arts and heritage including reforming arts funding and tapping into new sources of capital that would support, rather than replace, public money.

But he said budgets would be re-examined, leading to cuts during this financial year and a tough public spending settlement.

“Culture will not be singled out as a soft target,” Hunt added. “We will be open, fair and as rapid as possible in letting people know what their funding will be for the next spending settlement.”

One key proposal on the table is rewarding high-performing organisations with five-year or longer funding settlements – a change recommended in Brian McMaster’s 2007 Excellence in the Arts report.

Elsewhere, the new government plans to restore the original 20 per cent share of lottery funding to arts, heritage and sport by 2012-13, up from 16.7 per cent currently. This would eventually provide more than £50m for each sector.

Encouraging philanthropy will lie at the heart of cultural policy, through a proposal to extend Acceptance in Lieu to living donors and the reformation of Gift Aid. Hunt pledged his support for free admission to national museums and galleries.  

Maurice Davies, head of policy and communication at the Museums Association, said: “This speech took a very metropolitan view. It was all about big museums and theatres. We encourage Hunt to become more familiar with local patterns of museum provision across the country.”


News analysis, Museums Journal June 2010, p15

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