Brooke rebukes Arts Council

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The Independent Online
THE ARTS COUNCIL was told by the Government yesterday to start explaining its decisions to the public and to cut pounds 600,000, or 8 per cent, from its administrative costs, writes David Lister.

The decision, announced in Parliament by the Secretary of State for National Heritage, Peter Brooke, follows an investigation into the council's finances and policy by the accountancy firm, Price Waterhouse. It comes just as the council, which distributes government grants to the arts, is bracing itself for an expected pounds 5m cut in grant following next week's Budget.

The council has agreed to hold policy seminars around the country, to stage an annual Arts Council Lecture, and to publish appraisal reports on the performance of theatres, opera houses and concert halls.

Mr Brooke said that cutting pounds 600,000 from administrative costs would not 'damage the council's core functions'.

Anthony Everitt, secretary general of the Arts Council, said that the council would be considering the staffing implications of the 8 per cent reduction. It would, he said, mean 'some reduction in the services that can be offered to the arts constituency'.