Lottery admin cost arts pounds 23m

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The Independent Online
THE ARTS Council spent nearly pounds 23m on administering lottery awards in England last year, pounds 8m more than the previous year, according to its annual report.

By far the largest proportion of the administrative costs for 1997-98 was the pounds 8.4m on fees to consultants recruited to assess applications.

The Arts Council's operational costs were double those of the Heritage Lottery Fund, which is responsible for distributing a similar amount of money, approximately pounds 300m a year, over the whole of the UK.

Yesterday the council argued that without freelance accountants and arts administrators many projects would run into difficulties. "We have to have people ... ensuring that the money is being spent properly," said a spokeswoman.

But Peter Hewitt, the council's chief executive, concedesexpenditure is high and is determined to reduce it. The council has ratified a plan to sack half its 320 staff and to defer greater decision-making powers to Regional Arts Boards, moves likely to save at least pounds 2m a year.