Thursday, 22 July 2010

"...a move which will send a chill through the arts world..."

Up to one in two of the staff at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport are to be made redundant as part of the cuts programme submitted to the Treasury by the culture secretary, Jeremy Hunt.

Hunt has also proposed moving out of the well-appointed departmental headquarters in Cockspur Street, just off Trafalgar Square, with the remaining staff finding room in a different, existing departmental building.
/cheer
...Hunt, who has proposed cuts of between 35% and 50% of all staff, believes he will not be able to win support for the coming deep cuts in arts and media budgets unless he leads by example.
More please, faster.

Naturally, the luvvies and art phonies are shrieking and rending their garments:
Arts organisations are bracing themselves for a torrid time because Hunt wants to keep publicly-subsidised free entry to national museums, on the basis that it improves tourism and the wider creative economy.
In fact, he seems determined to wean them off the state teat altogether:
Arts Council England, which receives £445m to give out to 850 organisations around the country, has warned that it would have to stop funding for at least 200 organisations.
Hmm, a quick glance at their website shows that they certainly aren't cutting staff at HQ. In fact, they are still recruiting. So clearly, they can't be that worried!

And hey, if there's a market out there for Theo Jansen's Ventosa Siamesis, a 10 metre-long, mechanical sculpture powered by the wind, I'm sure someone will sponsor it. Won't they? Charge admission - don't stick your fingers in my pocket...
The RSC's Vicky Heywood warned that drastic cuts would mean fewer productions, less travelling and higher ticket prices.
If your productions are good, people will pay to see them. If they're not, why should I pay for them through tax?
The government is hoping to plug funding cuts by encouraging more private philanthropy but it is a route fraught with problems, not least the danger of safer, more conservative programming.
Hmmm, safer, eh? I'll worry about this when a government-subsidised artist comes up with that natural companion to 'Piss Christ', 'Poo Mohammed'...

6 comments:

Joseph Takagi said...

Pixar still seem to be doing OK.

AntiCitizenOne said...

So does the computer games industry.

Ross said...

"Up to one in two of the staff at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport are to be made redundant "

The sad thing is that being innumerate arts grads they wn't realise how many "one in two" is up until it is too late for them to do anything about it.

David Gillies said...

The whole idea of an entire government ministry devoted to 'culture' is a horrible Stalinist intrusion of the State into areas where it should not be. Don't cut it by 50%; shut it down completely, demolish the building, sow the ground with salt. And the Arts Council can get to buggery, too.

JuliaM said...

"Pixar still seem to be doing OK."

Quite!

"So does the computer games industry."

Yes, even though the tax break they were expected to receive has been scrapped, I can't see them going to the wall anytime soon.

"The sad thing is that being innumerate arts grads they wn't realise how many "one in two" is up until it is too late for them to do anything about it."

:D

"The whole idea of an entire government ministry devoted to 'culture' is a horrible Stalinist intrusion of the State into areas where it should not be. "

'Government-sponsored art' *shudder*

Angry Exile said...

Sadly I see a cloud in the silver lining: half the feckless bastards are going to be allowed to stay. Worse (probably), the department will start growing again when the money situation improves. If the Coalition wanted to really impress, not to mention save money, they should have scrapped the whole fucking department from the minister downwards. The employable employees will get other jobs and as for fArts Council England and the rest, they'll get along perfectly well on their own if their services have any value because someone will be willing to pay for it. If it turns out there isn't a buyer then they were never worth funding in the first place.

What's really needed, if you'll forgive the bad taste, is the government equivalent of a suicide bomber. Someone who'd be prepared to take on a ministerial position with the aim of being the last ever occupant, who'd take the reins of a department with the intention of abolishing it. What's probably available is the usual breed of empire building, power hungry bellends, albeit Tories and Comical Dimotwats for a change. That the Tories haven't had power for so long and the LibDems even longer makes it unlikely that any of the ones who get a department to run will recommend abolishing it, no matter how pointless and irrelevant it is.