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Looking forward to transparency in arts funding

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Will Gompertz | 09:05 UK time, Tuesday, 9 November 2010

The Department of Media, Culture & Sport (DCMS) has published its business plan, introduced with great optimism by the Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt:

Jeremy Hunt

Jeremy Hunt, October 2010

"This sets out how we will, over the next four years, boost economic growth, equip the country for future success and transform the way we deliver culture, media, sport and tourism".

Unsurprisingly it is simply a summation of what the coalition government has said and done since it came to power in May. The summary page contains, however, a couple of ambiguous lines that could do with a bit of clarification.

We will support the sector to move towards more sustainable business models

What, I asked, does that mean? The sector appears perfectly happy with its current business model consisting of varying degrees of state funding, philanthropy and commercial enterprise. It is a model that has worked for years and delivered an extremely successful arts sector, so where is the unsustainability?

I was told it meant that the ministers don't want the sector to be so vulnerable to large-scale government cuts, should they occur again in future. Ah, so does that mean weaning the arts off public subsidy? Apparently not: the subsidy is secure.

The other phrase that caught my eye described the government as:

liberating organisations so they can raise and spend money as they see fit

Really? Does that mean that in future arts institutions will be able to borrow money from a bank when they next want to buy a painting or build an extension? No, it doesn't. It means that they can carry on their commercial activity just as they have in the past, but with less regulatory burden on when and how they spend it.

The report also states the department's determination to be transparent about its activities - I look forward to it!


  • Comment number 1.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 2.

    Does hold your chin make you feel intelligent and serious? Art its serious and only for those who are intelligent. Make sure the Nick Robinson nutters are kept away. I have a plan, hold me chin. That will scare them.

    And now for something completely different.....

  • Comment number 3.

    Now today I have asked you to gather here to learn the act of looking intelligent. Before I start is everyone here a 2.1 or above. Good than I'll begin. Right boys you have to hold you chin. It best to have most of the hand under the chin with just one finger on top of the chin. Ready to practice? Right split into two and try holding your chin. Good. Next week we will look at using 20 words when a simple no or yes is used by the rest of society.

    I taught Stephen Fry all he knows you know.


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