Jeremy Hunt cites UKFC’s £3m budget on overheads as one reason to abolish the organisation.

In his address to the UK House of Commons today, UK Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport Jeremy Hunt drew some jeers when he suggested that the move announced today to abolish the UK Film Council “does not reflect the government investment in UK Film and the Lottery investment in UK film.”

He continued: “We want to make sure that every penny is used on frontline services, not on back-office and bureaucracy.” Pointedly, Hunt said: “The UK Film Council spends £3 million per annum on administration. We want to ask whether that money could be better used to support film-makers.”

Hunt clarified that the DCMS had not announced “a decision” today, but instead a proposal. “We want to hear everyone’s views,” he added, but did not respond to question about why the government body hadn’t consulted with the industry or the UKFC before announcing today’s measures. Any debate will have to wait until at least September, as the House of Commons has gone on recess as of tomorrow through September 6.

Separately, a DCMS representative also spoke about how the regional screen agencies, themselves under fire, could fit into the future: “The screen agencies do an excellent job promoting film production, video games development, skills and more. For a relatively small investment, they have encouraged investment of over £50m in the audio-visual creative industries across all regions. Retaining this level of support is important and we are considering how the important function they perform fits in with the planned Local Enterprise Partnerships.”

More on the UKFC news:
UK government to shut UK Film Council

UK industry reacts with shock

Opinion: Black day for British film

Hunt says he wants to hear opinions on UKFC plans

Woodward says closing target is April 2012

UKFC: A snapshot

UKFC by the numbers/box office hits