Extract from interview with Ed Vaizey, Conservative minister for media and arts, in the Sunday Times today:
‘During the interview Vaizey offered some hope to arts organisations which, like other publicly financed bodies, may learn this week about swingeing cuts to their budgets.
He claimed there will be no “bonfire of the quangos” and said a planned merger of the UK Film Council and British Film Institute “may no longer be necessarily happening”.
However, Vaizey said the Arts Council, which distributed lottery funding, must cut back its administration costs.
“My immediate priority is to manage the arts after cuts,” he said. “The frontline services of what the public gets in performances must be protected as much as possible. The Arts Council itself must be more about providing cultural leadership and not just a place for the funding cheque.”
Vaizey has high hopes for the Cultural Olympiad, an arts programme that will accompany the staging of the 2012 Olympics. “It must be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to showcase the best of London’s arts,” he said.
He admitted that London’s eight-minute role at the closing ceremony of the Beijing Games in 2008 had been embarrassing.
“There were robust views expressed about that,” said Vaizey. “People have now listened.” ‘
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