Woodward tells industry that today’s move by DCMS “is short-sighted and potentially very damaging, especially as there is at present no roadmap setting out where the UK Film Council’s responsibilities and funding will be placed in the future.”
Screen has obtained the following statement that UKFC CEO John Woodward sent to members of the film community today:
I wanted to write to the UK Film Council’s partners and colleagues across the film sector in response to today’s news that, as part of the Coalition Government’s plans to reduce the number and scope of government-funded agencies, the DCMS has informed the Board and me of their intention to abolish the UK Film Council.
The decision has been imposed with no notice and no consultation – and there appears to have been no evaluation inside Government of the strengths or weaknesses of the UK Film Council. Put simply, late last week we suddenly found ourselves on a list that will enable the DCMS to help meet the Treasury’s targets for cutting the total number of public bodies.
I think we can all agree that this is short-sighted and potentially very damaging, especially as there is at present no roadmap setting out where the UK Film Council’s responsibilities and funding will be placed in the future.
The Minister for Culture, Ed Vaizey, has said that the target is to have the organisation totally closed down with its assets and its remaining operations transferred out by April 2012. That does, at least, give us time to honour our current commitments and, as far as possible, to continue our funded support for film while the DCMS ensures an orderly transfer of remaining film functions to other Government departments and/or agencies. My one priority over the next few weeks will be to press the Government to confirm that the funding levels and core functions that are needed to underpin British film are locked-in.
It’s important to stress that the Government has said it remains committed to both the current Film Tax Relief and to the principle of Lottery funding for film. To that end, our existing funded activities will continue to operate as normal while we work with the DCMS over the Summer to identify how they can guarantee both continuity and safe harbour for British film going forward.
I completely understand that you will have lots of questions – but many of the answers will have to wait until the dust settles and the DCMS comes up with a new plan for film clearer in the months ahead. We will of course keep you abreast of further developments.
Chief Executive Officer
UK Film Council
More on the UKFC news:
UK government to shut UK Film Council