The Save our Sound UK campaign continues to generate interest and involvement, but the work is far from done.
Licensing Minister Gerry Sutcliffe has unveiled a range of proposals to amend the Licensing Act 2003. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) have published a consultation, whichoutlines three simplification measures, estimated in the Impact Assessment to save the organisations and businesses involved between £9.2m and £24.1m a year.
On Wednesday the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Alistair Darling, delivered his Pre-Budget Report (PBR) to the House of Commons. Much speculation had surrounded the PBR with commentators expecting new announcements on VAT and hard-hitting measures to curb bankers’ bonuses.
The Government has this week laid out its plan for reducing the cost of government while protecting front line services. Putting the Frontline First: Smarter Government aims to release £12 billion a year of public spending; this is over and above the £26.5 billion a year of savings which government departments have made since 2004 through the Gershon review and “the further £35 billion a year reduction to which they are already committed by 2011.”
George Osborne, Shadow Chancellor, made a speech this week at Tate Modern, promising a brighter future for the arts under a Tory government, in which more funding will be received, and the largest cultural institutions will be liberated from the shackles of Labour’s “Treasury micromanagement.” Osborne stated that the party is “deeply committed to the British arts sector” and wishes to “see it flourish and thrive in the years ahead.” He linked the arts back to the Conservative interest in social responsibility, continuing to identify the sector as an example of the “great things can happen when governments, charities, businesses and social enterprises work together.”
NCA has responded to the UK Border Agency (UKBA) Consultation on Charging for Immigration and Visa Applications, which outlines a number of proposals about the methods for charging immigration and visa applicants, with a focus on setting fees more flexibly. The following points summarise NCA’s response to the consultation:
On 24 November the NCA led a delegation of arts executives to the Minister for Borders and Immigration, Phil Woolas MP, to discuss progress made on visa and immigration rules and to flag emerging issues since the last meeting in March.
The Migration Advisory Committee has published its report on further changes to the criteria for Tier 1, in the face of the changing economic climate. The report can be read here.
The NCA is happy to draw members’ attention to the media activity surrounding the Save our Sound UK campaign, which believes that Ofcom’s proposal to sell off a number of ultra-high frequency radio channels following the digital switch over will threaten the future of events which use radio microphones. NCA Director, Louise de Winter’s letter regarding the campaign was published in The Times this week, following the newspaper’s publication of a letter from Matthew Conway, of Ofcom, itself a response to a joint letter from organisations within the sector.
The Northern Ireland Assembly’s Culture, Arts and Leisure (CAL) Committee launched its report on the state of funding for the arts in Northern Ireland this week. The report has been produced after a lengthy inquiry, during which the Committee received 71 submissions, considered oral evidence from 20 key stakeholders, and commissioned 9 research papers on funding of the arts.
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has published a digest of the bill, which was announced during the Queen’s speech last week. The bill outlines a number of proposals which may have an impact on the arts sector. There has been much publicity about the online file-sharing measure, in which internet users may be disconnected following 3 counts of illegal file-sharing. The bill also aims to modernise and facilitate the copyright system, support the plurality of regional and local news, and extend public lending rights to include digital material such as audio and e-books, providing reward to artists and producers when material is lent out from public libraries.
Once again, the Queen’s speech during this year’s State Opening of Parliament made fleeting reference at best to the arts. The micro-speech, lasting less than 7 minutes, panned by David Cameron as the Prime Minister’s desperate attempt “to relaunch his political career”, contained 13 bills, 3 of which were carried over from the previous session. The main focus was on pensioners, parents, and economic recovery, but it is the Digital Economy Bill and Children, Schools and Family Bill which may impact the arts sector.
Government response to the consultation on Sustainable independent and impartial news in the Nations, locally and in the regions
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has published a summary and response to the public consultation which took place between June and September, to which NCA responded. The consultation showed strong support for securing plurality of impartial news sources, and found that 66% of those who responded agreed that sustaining impartial news was likely to require some sort of top-up public funding. NCA was amongst the 43% of respondents who were in favour of using the Licence Fee for this funding but only on the condition that the funds were used to secure a commitment to a range of public service content. A further condition was that the proportion of the Licence Fee offered to providers other than the BBC must be allocated in such a way that would not endanger the Corporation’s continued financial viability or have a marked impact on its ability to produce high quality public service programmes.
The winter edition of nca news is being published in January. This edition will review the last 12 months and focus on key issues affecting the arts and the work NCA has done in these areas. We are looking for a front cover image that conveys a looking back/looking forward leitmotif, which will steer this edition. This is an excellent opportunity to have your image seen by both the NCA’s network of members and our contacts in government and press.
Our thanks to all those who completed the quick questionnaire on Arts Council England’s Sustain Fund. As the overall number of responses was very low (25), we cannot draw any meaningful conclusions from these. However, some of the comments provided us with some food for thought which NCA will share with Arts Council for their response.
The Legislation Committee No. 4 of the National Assembly for Wales has published its report on the proposed National Assembly for Wales (Legislative Competence) (Culture and other fields) Order 2009. The order will allow the Assembly to make new laws for Wales (known as Assembly Measures) specifically in relation to the promotion and delivery of cultural services by local authorities across Wales.
NCA has joined forces with 20 other organisations representing the British Entertainment Industry to launch the Save our Sound UK campaign, asking the Government to act to safeguard the future of any events which use radio microphones. These events (live music, theatre, film and TV production, sports events, concerts and conferences, to name a few) became threatened when Ofcom announced its plans to sell the ultra-high radio frequency channels 31-37 and 61-69 which will be cleared out by the digital switchover. After these channels have been auctioned off by the Government, they will become illegal to use.
The NCA attended the launch of the CCPSB on Monday, 2 November. Held in the Grand Committee Room in Westminster Hall, the launch was hosted by John Grogan MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary BBC Group and a Labour MP. John Whittingdale MP, Conservative Chair of the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee and Lord McNally, Lib Dem spokesman for the Constitution in the Lords, also appeared on the platform.
After all night negotiations, the European Parliament and Council have reached a compromise on file-sharing, stating that users in all 27 EU states would be subject to a "fair and impartial procedure" before being disconnected. The new rules represent a compromise between those who seek more protection for consumers and those who continue to argue that copyright law is being disregarded by many computer users.
Arts Council England has published a document outlining the criteria used to make decisions about which organisations to fund regularly, hoping to bring clarity and transparency to funding decisions. The document describes two sets of criteria, the first of which looks at the organisation itself, and the second of which explores how the organisation fits into the overall arts infrastructure that ACE seeks to support.