The Government has introduced its Localism Bill, which had its first reading in the House of Commons on 13 December.
Two reports have been published this week examining the role of the creative and cultural sectors in society.
Plans for the Government’s philanthropy scheme were set out by the Secretary of State for Culture, Jeremy Hunt, in a speech at the European Association for Philanthropy and Giving (EAPG)’s annual conference on Wednesday 8 December.
On Tuesday, the Home Secretary, Theresa May announced a 21,700 cap on the number of skilled workers from outside the European Economic Area allowed into the UK.
From April, the Office for National Statistics will ask people to rate their own well-being with the first official happiness index due in 2012.
Secretary of State for Culture, Jeremy Hunt, was this week called to appear before the Commons Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee. During the two-hour session, the Minister, alongside Jonathan Stephens, DCMS’ Permanent Secretary, outlined the measures he expected to take in order to make required departmental savings. He reaffirmed his belief that most of these savings could be achieved through the DCMS itself: firstly by moving the department out of its current building on Cockspur Street; and secondly, by reducing the DCMS staffing budget by up to 50 percent. The ambitious saving of £28 million he hopes to achieve by reducing DCMS’ operational budget in this way is for the benefit of front-line services, argued Mr Hunt.
In time for this week’s deadline, the NCA responded on behalf of our members to UK Border Agency’s consultation: Limits on non-EU economic migrants. In our response we make a strong point about the devastating effects that proposed changes to criteria for Tiers 2 would have on the sector. We argue that the imposition of an immigration cap on top of a shortage occupation status is illogical. The NCA recommends that shortage occupations are excluded from the cap and that UKBA give further thought to allocating sector quotas to ensure that a cap limit is applied with some degree of fairness, especially in the application of language and salary selection criteria.
Download a copy of our response here
In time for yesterday’s submission deadline, the NCA sent its evidence to the CMS Select Committee’s Inquiry into the Funding of Arts and Heritage. We would like to once again thank all members for thoughts and comments shared as we compiled our response to this crucial investigation for the sector.
To allow for the summer holidays, Northern Ireland’s Culture Minister Nelson McCausland has extended the draft Museums Policy consultation deadline for a further five weeks to 30 September 2010.
Last month the NCA reported Culture Minister Ed Vaizey’s proposals to launch a programme which would see public libraries at the heart of the ‘Big Society’. Led by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council and the Local Government Association Group, the programme will examine how to ‘radically rethink’ the public library service, with options including shared services, merging functions, staffing across authorities, support from volunteers or the use of other community buildings.
The consultation deadline is today, and the NCA has submitted its response. In brief, the NCA welcomes and supports the redistribution of the lottery shares which will benefit the arts and go a little way towards redressing the loss of income when funds were diverted to the Olympics. We have made a strong point about lottery funding not to be seen as a substitute for Government funding but, given the expected severity of funding cuts, have indicated that an immediate increase to 20%, rather than a stepped increase, would be preferred.
See the NCA’s response here.
Last month, the NCA informed members of Northern Ireland’s Culture Minister, Nelson McCausland’s, plans to hold a consultation on a museums policy for Northern Ireland.
The NCA has compiled a draft response to the current inquiry, led by the DCMS, into the distribution of National Lottery shares, which would directly benefit the sector with an increased share of 4 percent by 2012. The proposed changes would see an increase in the apportionment of shares for arts, heritage and sport to 18 percent on 1 April 2011, with a further increase to 20 percent on 1 April 2012.
Last week, John Penrose MP, Minister for Tourism and Heritage wrote to the Chair of the Big Lottery Fund, Clive Booth, to put forward his proposals for changing the policy direction of the Big Lottery Fund. In his letter, the Minister argued for the need to focus funding on projects that benefit people and local communities in the voluntary and community sector.
The coalition government announced earlier this week that it would abolish the UK Film Council in a bid to increase transparency, accountability and efficiency. The Labour-conceived quango, which is the primary source of funding for British films, is among another 55 arts and culture quangos that are to be scrapped, merged or streamlined in a cost-cutting drive.
Last week the NCA urged members to write to MPs to raise the issue of Ofcom’s sale of radio frequencies with the Chief of Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander. This week Culture Minister Ed Vaizey has made an announcement regarding the compensation package for all those who use wireless microphones. The NCA is pleased to report that the DCMS have decided to abolish the ‘residual value’ concept whereby equipment of a certain age was no longer eligible for compensation.
This week, Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt unveiled his ambitions for arts organisations to develop alternative income streams and commissioned Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum, to prepare a report on the viability of developing endowments. As part of the government’s bid to increase philanthropic giving, the report will outline the advantages and disadvantages of developing endowments and whether there is a potential for arts institutions to benefit from wider use of them.
The NCA would like to draw members’ attention to a unique group of evidence sessions held by the Culture, Media and Sport Committee in Parliament.
As we have previously reported, the Coalition Government is asking the public to come forward with their ideas for where money can be saved. The Government’s Spending Challenge was initially only open to public sector workers however the Government has now opened the consultation to all members of the public.
Arts Council England (ACE) Chief Executive Alan Davey has this week written to all ACE regularly funded organisations to warn them of up to 10 percent cuts for the coming year. In line with the Government’s spending clampdown, ACE has been asked by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to model for a 25 percent or 30 percent cut to its core funding over the next four years.