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BFI faces 10% cut for 2015-16

The British Film Institute (BFI) is to receive a 10% cut to its resource funding from the government - twice the reduction handed to museums and the rest of the cultural/arts sector.

See below for statements in full

It follows funding reductions at the BFI amounting to 18% over the last two years while at the same time absorbing the activities of the dissolved UK Film Council and releasing 50% back to the DCMS (Department of Culture, Media and Sport).

The BFI has also been tasked with finding a possible further 5% contingency.

In a statement, the BFI said: “We are shocked that film has not been protected alongside the UK’s other national arts bodies and museums. This is even more surprising given the Government and industry’s endorsement of the BFI’s five year strategic plan for film, launched less than a year ago (October 2012).”

The BFI added that the cuts may force it to “stop valuable front line activities and reduce support for partner organisations.”

In a letter to the BFI, culture secretary Maria Miller said: “The onus is on us to continue to identify innovative solutions that will allow budgetary reductions to be managed, and enable BFI and DCMS to continue to play a full and active part in helping the UK meet the enormous fiscal and economic challenges it faces.”

While it faces cuts, the BFI has been allocated capital funding of £500,000 to create a “BFI player” platform from which archive content can be accessed online, and £800,000 for urgent maintenance projects.

BFI statement in full

“As a national cultural body which is also the catalyst for the growth of the film industry, we are shocked that film has not been protected alongside the UK’s other national arts bodies and museums. This is even more surprising given the Government and industry’s endorsement of the BFI’s five year strategic plan for film, launched less than a year ago (October 2012).

“The Secretary of State’s statement on the DCMS website recognises the ‘huge contribution’ made by the organisations she is protecting with a 5% cut. But her decision not to include the BFI fails to acknowledge film’s multi-billion pound contribution to the economy, and instead puts film in the position of effectively subsidising other arts organisations.

“We recognise and applaud the tax credits. However, to maximise their potential, the UK should not be reducing its investment in world-leading creativity - through support for filmmakers, cultural programmes, skills, education, talent development and audiences - if we want to retain our competitive edge internationally.

“This is extremely disappointing and worrying for the film sector and audiences at a point where it is clear to those in and out of Government that film is playing an active and significant role in the UK’s economic recovery and is a vital contributor to our cultural life and international profile.

“The idea of expanding the BFI’s activities is exciting but, at a point when we are facing a 10% cut, we cannot consider taking on these new activities at the expense of film.

“We are in urgent discussions with the Minister with a set of proposals to mitigate some of the impact of these cuts. If these proposals aren’t achievable then the BFI will have no choice but to stop valuable front line activities and reduce support for partner organisations.

“The BFI’s Board of Governors is considering these options and will make its decision public in due course.”

Extract from a letter to the BFI by culture secretary Maria Miller

“As I set out in the run up to the Spending Round, with a return to economic growth being the focus of the Government, I wanted to set out the contribution DCMS can make to meeting the growth challenge. Because we were able to make strong arguments about the importance of film in achieving economic growth, we were able to achieve a fair settlement for the film sector, that includes additional investment.

“British Film Institute (BFI) will receive additional capital funding of £0.5m to create a “BFI player” platform from which archive content can be accessed online, and £0.8m for urgent maintenance projects.

“However, this settlement is not without its challenges and the onus is on us to continue to identify innovative solutions that will allow budgetary reductions to be managed, and enable BFI and DCMS to continue to play a full and active part in helping the UK meet the enormous fiscal and economic challenges it faces. This letter sets out the funding settlement for BFI for the financial year 2015-16. I know that this will certainly require some careful planning and as such I am setting out this high level budget allocation now, in order to allow you as much notice as possible in planning for a financially challenging period.

“The resource grant-in-aid budget for your organisation will be reduced by 10% in real terms. Within this settlement, I expect BFI to continue to carry out its current functions in support of cultural sector tax reliefs and MEDIA desk, as well as maintain its funding to Creative England and Film London.

“My further priorities for BFI for 2015-16 are for it to develop its industrial role to help support UK growth. Key to this will be:

  • “Expanding its remit into the wider screen industries, including taking steps to open up its funding programmes to these new sectors;

  • “Successful administration of the tax reliefs and their promotion here and abroad;

  • “Supporting international cultural exchange and building relationships that will support creative export and inward investment, including the work of the GREAT campaign;

  • “Developing philanthropy in the sector. I understand that this will be challenging but I see these areas as key to delivering the BFI’s industry role, as well as providing a foundation to widen the BFI’s commercial activity and potential to increase your earned income.

“In addition, within this settlement I expect all bodies to continue to bear down on administration costs, to enable a larger portion of the funds provided to be used at the front-line. I am not setting a specific target for this, in recognition that much has already been done to reduce administration budgets, but I would like to see plans in place for making admin further savings where reasonable, by the end of October 2013.

“We expect that bodies will meet the costs of any restructuring necessary as a result of this settlement.”

Readers' comments (2)

  • sandip mahal

    Typical! Cutting back is a really stupid idea considering the amount of money coming in.. Well done idiots

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • Seriously. £500k for a BFI i-player - when there are existing platforms in existence that the BFI could most cost effectively be talking with to gain traffic to their valuable content.

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