The UK Film Council to close
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) announced today that the UK Film Council (UKFC) is to be abolished with all its assets and its remaining operations to be transferred out by April 2012.
This move was triggered by the government’s drive to cut costs and increase transparency and accountability of its public bodies, though the DCM insists that film funding would continue but would be distributed through other bodies. “We wanted to establish a direct and less bureaucratic relationship with the British Film Institute,” Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt said.
“The changes I have proposed today would help us deliver fantastic culture, media and sport, while ensuring value for money for the public and transparency about where taxpayers’ money is spent.”
Current lottery funding is expected to increase from the current level of £26m to £32m in 2012.
The UKFC is funded by National Lottery, with an annual budget of £15m and 75 employees. It was set up in 2000 by the Labour government to develop and promote British films. In the last 10 years, it invested £160m in over 900 films, including Bend it Like Beckham, Vera Drake and Last King of Scotland.
Tim Bevan, the Chairman of the UKFC, said, “Abolishing the most successful film support organization the UK has ever had is a bad decision, imposed without a consultation or evaluation. People will rightly look back on today’s announcement and say it was a mistake, driven by short-term thinking and political expediency. British Film, which is one of the UK’s more successful growth industries, deserves better.”
The British Film Institute (BFI) and the British Council were not affected by the cuts and will take over many of the UKFC responsibilities.