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./cheer
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.
...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'...