Even Eastwood could not save arts body

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The Independent Culture

It's not every quango that has Clint Eastwood lobbying for its retention. In fact, it's only one. But the Hollywood star has failed to save the UK Film Council, whose abolition is now confirmed, along with that of a handful of other bodies funded by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport.

Chief among these are the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council and the Advisory Council on Libraries, which, like the UK Film Council, will have their responsibilities transferred. And it is on that detail that so much hangs.

We have yet to hear which bodies will take over the functions of the abolished quangos, and whether they will be subsumed into government departments or other specialist organisations. In the case of the UK Film Council, a transfer of duties to the British Film Institute is likely. Until we know, it is hard to say how much the individual art forms will suffer. The reality is that British films, like British libraries, will not be remotely as badly hit as the harbingers of doom have warned.

Meanwhile, the biggest arts quango of them all remains. The Arts Council, which hands out hundreds of millions of pounds to theatres, opera, dance, art and music, will continue. But next Wednesday's spending cuts will undoubtedly see it suffer a hefty cut; and the resulting effect on the arts will be much greater than the abolition just announced of the less important quangos.