Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt announces cuts to arts

The new Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government has announced that Jeremy Hunt is to become Culture Secretary.

Mr Hunt will head the renamed Department of Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport. In an interview with Newsnight, the Conservative MP made it clear that the department will be looking to make £66 million worth of cuts, in accordance to the party's commitment to reducing the national debt.

Mr Hunt has asked his civil servants to explore cuts without affecting “front-line services.”

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  1. The arts are so poorly funded most of them, already carrying deficits, hugeky subsidised by their practitioners, with lots of companies and theatres dark or closed recently (Derby, Exeter Northcott) that this cut can only be draconian and demoralising out of all proportion and extremely damaging to ‘front-line services’. No doubt where they survive, prices will rise making them available only to the rich and increasing social exclusion.

  2. Well, if you didn’t see the cuts coming then you were mad! Of course the conservatives were going to cut the arts, they always have done. In fact I am sure they will cut loads from grass root art centres etc and still expect the National Theatre, The Globe etc to have the talent and support backstage to entertain the hoards of visitors to the Olympics. How they expect to find and fund acts for the street etc. when they cut so much money I don’t know!!

  3. Sadly, cuts will be inevitable as vast amounts of money was borrowed and spent imprudently in all governmental budget areas. It will be a question of priorities and while it will be a tumultuous time, good creative solutions will be found, good and great work will be created and audiences will consist of poor as well as rich. It will be bloody challenging but whatever is done will be done not because the Con-Libs don’t value the arts but because they have to do this because of the state we’re in. Their commitment to music education illustrates the value they place on the arts already. There’s a big rethink ahead all round and a lot of hard work too but good will come out of it. Theatres don’t just close because of lack of subsidy; they close because people don’t want to go to them and we need to examine and address the reasons. It isn’t just a question of poor funding.

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