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Arts Funding: Creative community hails increase as 'good result'

By Arifa Akbar

The arts community was yesterday celebrating a "good result" in and culture spending.

The budget for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) will rise to £2.2 bn in three years' time. The Chancellor said this would guarantee free access to museums and galleries and extra money for sport "so that every child and young person can take part in five hours of sport a week".

He said it would also deliver the Cultural Olympiad in the run up to London 2012.

The Chancellor pledged extra funding for new BBC television channels in Arabic and Farsi, the Persian language spoken in Iran. The BBC World Service will receive £70m from the Government for the three-year period from 2008/2009, representing an average increase above inflation of 2.7 per cent.

Nigel Chapman, the World Service's director, said the settlement strengthened the channel's "future as a multi-media provider of high-quality independent and impartial news and information around the world".

Meanwhile, Sir Christopher Frayling, chairman of Arts Council England, described the inflation increase for the arts as a "good result."

"We have campaigned long and hard for this settlement and in the context of a tough spending round, it is good to know that the Government has listened to the case we put for the arts," he said.

Nicholas Serota, director of Tate Gallery, expressed his relief over the outcome. "We are delighted that the Government has endorsed its commitment to culture and arts by this significant increase in the budget for the DCMS."

John Woodward, chief executive officer of the UK Film Council, said "the landscape for film, the arts and UK culture looks much brighter", while Sandy Nairne, director of the National Portrait Gallery, added his voice to the chorus of praise, saying it was "very good news for culture and museums."

But Louise de Winter, from the lobbying group, National Campaign for the Arts (NCA), warned: "The impact of the diversion from the lottery fund to the Olympics will still continue to cut deep."

Referring to the £112m that the Arts Council gave over to the Olympics, she said the London Olympic campaign had been greatly strengthened by the cultural content and that there was "still a lot of funding to be made up to the arts sector".

Irish Independent

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