A report released today from the Culture, Media and Sport Committee acknowledges that cuts in public spending will have a major impact on arts and heritage organisations, and some may well be forced to close. However, the report also notes that over recent years the arts have enjoyed a period of high levels of public investment and criticises the Arts Council in particular for wasting money on some projects.
John Whittingdale, Chair of the Committee, said:
"Arts and heritage in Britain are among our greatest assets. They bring both great cultural and economic benefits. Since the Second World War, most arts and heritage organisations have operated on a mixed funding model, whereby their income is made up partly of public subsidy and partly of private investment and earned revenue. This model has worked for them, and our Committee continues to support mixed funding.
However, we also highlight that over the past twenty years the arts have enjoyed a period of particularly high levels of public investment. While this has created a vibrant and successful arts scene in the UK, there has also undoubtedly been waste. Our Report highlights in particular the case of the Public gallery in West Bromwich, which the Committee considers a gross waste of public money by the Arts Council.
We realise that cuts in public spending will have a major impact on arts and heritage organisations, forcing some closures and we regret that. However, at a time when cuts are biting across the board, it is right that all sectors share the burden. Our Report suggests ways in which arts and heritage organisations might improve financial management and explore other funding schemes."
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