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UK arts threatened by Foreign Office's £39m cut to British Council budget
POSTED 11 Sep 2017 . BY Tom Anstey
An open letter penned to Boris Johnson, Britain’s secretary of state for foreign affairs, has called on the minister to reconsider funding cuts which would force the British Council to scale back its work in developed countries, significantly affecting the UK’s culture sector.

The British Council, the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities, was set up to to promote British culture and values around the world. If the decision to cut its funding – made before Britain’s decision to leave the European Union was decided – goes ahead, it will be reduced from £39m (US$51.5m, €42.9m) in 2016/17 to £13m (€17.2m) in 2018/19, and then to zero by 2019/20.

Without access to official development assistance (ODA) from the Foreign Office, the British Council will have to rely on money earned through teaching and exams, contracts and partnerships to fill this gap. The Council currently works in more than 100 countries, with 85 per cent of its turnover earned in this manner.

Penned by William Burdett-Couts – artistic director for theatre and comedy promotion company Assembly, and signed by 14 other heads of major culture projects in the UK – the open letter urges Johnson to reconsider the Council cuts so it can maintain its culture standards in what will be an important time for the UK ahead of Brexit.

“This direction of travel was set pre-Brexit, but given the events of the past year a rethink is urgently required on the part of UK government,” said the letter, highlighting the Edinburgh Festival, which draws thousands to the Scottish capital each year.

“We urge a reconsideration of the planned balance of funding to the British Council so that it can continue to play a key role across a wide range of countries, and sustain the momentum of cultural exchange and development at this critical time for the UK on the world
stage as soon as possible.”

According to the British Council’s Corporate Plan 2017-20, which also factors in losses due to Brexit, “there remains a risk and a challenge to deliver our work in the developed world."

It added: "Compared with our previous plan we estimate there will be at least £62m (US$81.8m, €68.3m) less funding available for developed countries from 2016–17 to 2020–21.”

In a statement responding to the open letter, the Foreign Office said: “We are committed to projecting UK influence around the world, including through the valuable work of the British Council.

“We are aware of the potential impact of providing the British Council with more overseas development assistance as part of its grant. We are currently working with the British Council to deliver the manifesto commitment of putting it on a secure footing, recognising the tight fiscal climate and the importance of delivering Brexit.”
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NEWS
UK arts threatened by Foreign Office's £39m cut to British Council budget
POSTED 11 Sep 2017 . BY Tom Anstey
An open letter penned to Boris Johnson, Britain’s secretary of state for foreign affairs, has called on the minister to reconsider funding cuts which would force the British Council to scale back its work in developed countries, significantly affecting the UK’s culture sector.

The British Council, the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities, was set up to to promote British culture and values around the world. If the decision to cut its funding – made before Britain’s decision to leave the European Union was decided – goes ahead, it will be reduced from £39m (US$51.5m, €42.9m) in 2016/17 to £13m (€17.2m) in 2018/19, and then to zero by 2019/20.

Without access to official development assistance (ODA) from the Foreign Office, the British Council will have to rely on money earned through teaching and exams, contracts and partnerships to fill this gap. The Council currently works in more than 100 countries, with 85 per cent of its turnover earned in this manner.

Penned by William Burdett-Couts – artistic director for theatre and comedy promotion company Assembly, and signed by 14 other heads of major culture projects in the UK – the open letter urges Johnson to reconsider the Council cuts so it can maintain its culture standards in what will be an important time for the UK ahead of Brexit.

“This direction of travel was set pre-Brexit, but given the events of the past year a rethink is urgently required on the part of UK government,” said the letter, highlighting the Edinburgh Festival, which draws thousands to the Scottish capital each year.

“We urge a reconsideration of the planned balance of funding to the British Council so that it can continue to play a key role across a wide range of countries, and sustain the momentum of cultural exchange and development at this critical time for the UK on the world
stage as soon as possible.”

According to the British Council’s Corporate Plan 2017-20, which also factors in losses due to Brexit, “there remains a risk and a challenge to deliver our work in the developed world."

It added: "Compared with our previous plan we estimate there will be at least £62m (US$81.8m, €68.3m) less funding available for developed countries from 2016–17 to 2020–21.”

In a statement responding to the open letter, the Foreign Office said: “We are committed to projecting UK influence around the world, including through the valuable work of the British Council.

“We are aware of the potential impact of providing the British Council with more overseas development assistance as part of its grant. We are currently working with the British Council to deliver the manifesto commitment of putting it on a secure footing, recognising the tight fiscal climate and the importance of delivering Brexit.”
RELATED STORIES
Museums in Hull have recorded one million visitors since becoming the UK's City of Culture


Hull’s museums, including the Ferens Art Gallery, the Hull History Centre and the Arctic Corsair trawler have recorded more than one million visitors since January, the highest figure since records began in 1960.
DCMS introduces £15m cultural regeneration fund as part of Great Exhibition of the North


Culture and tech projects in the North of England will soon be able to bid for a slice from a £15m (US$19.3m, €16.5m) funding pie, with a new fund established to help build a lasting regional legacy for the Great Exhibition of the North.
Construction begins on London music venue linking culture and Crossrail


Construction is underway on two new live music venues and a leisure-filled “urban gallery” in central London, designed by British architects Orms.
BBC plans culture festival to air alongside new art series in 2018


The BBC is seeking out museums, art galleries and libraries across the UK to run a series of cultural events alongside Civilisations – a new 10-part television series telling the story of art.
MORE NEWS
New Tate St Ives in the running for 2018 Stirling Prize
Tate St Ives is the only leisure building to find its way onto the shortlist for the 2018 RIBA Stirling Prize for the UK’s best new building.
British Museum seeks to acquire 'Trump Baby' for dissent exhibition
London's British Museum is planning to borrow the Trump Baby blimp, which flew over the capital's streets last week in protest against US President Donald Trump's visit last week.
'Jurassic' Jeff Goldblum installation appears on London's Southbank
A giant statue of Jeff Goldblum has become an overnight sensation, after appearing in a tourism hotspot next to London's historic Tower Bridge.
Disability and accessibility over heritage, says Archbishop of Canterbury
Justin Welby – the Archbishop of Canterbury – has said that disability and accessibility should take precedence when it comes to heritage matters.
+ More news   
LATEST JOBS
Visitor Services Supervisor
Royal Botanic Gardens Kew
Salary: £24,835 per annum
Job location: Wakehurst, West Sussex
Overnight Accommodation Manager
Zoological Society of London
Salary: £31,464 per annum
Job location: London, UK
Forest Centre Operations Manager
Forestry Commission
Salary: £29,695 - £32,811
Job location: Thetford, UK
Marketing Manager
Legoland Discovery Centre
Salary: Competitive
Job location: Kansas City, Missouri, USA
Marketing Manager
Legoland Discovery Centre
Salary: Competitive
Job location: Melbourne VIC, Australia
Facilities Technician
Legoland
Salary: Competitive
Job location: Winter Haven, Florida, USA
+ More jobs  
 


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Leisure Media, Portmill House, Portmill Lane,
Hitchin, Hertfordshire SG5 1DJ Tel: +44 (0)1462 431385

©Cybertrek 2018

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