Savings of around £73 million have been made as part of our contribution to reducing the fiscal deficit
“We are facing an unprecedented financial situation in this country, and it is essential that we act now to reduce the country’s debt,” said Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport.
“We have examined a number of schemes to determine whether they remain a Government priority, value for money, and affordable in the current economic climate.
“This has involved some incredibly difficult decisions, but the cultural and sporting worlds, like everyone else, urgently need the country’s finances to be returned to a sustainable position.”
Projects for which funding is being cancelled include:
- free swimming for those aged 16 and under and over 60
- the planned Stonehenge Visitor Centre
- the British Film Institute (BFI) Film Centre
A number of other schemes have also been cancelled.
Free Swimming Programme
New research which shows that this scheme has not delivered value for money, so funding will end this summer.
“This is not a decision that gives me any pleasure,” said Hugh Robertson, Minister for Sport and Olympics. ”However, the research shows that the great majority of free swimmers were swimming already, and would have paid to swim anyway. With a crippling deficit to tackle and tough decisions to take, this has become a luxury we can no longer afford.”
Cancelling this programme will save £5 million, as part of a total saving of £40 million from the Free Swimming Programme funding across Government.
Stonehenge Visitor Centre
“I recognise the disappointment that everyone in the heritage community feels at today’s announcement,” said John Penrose, Minister for Tourism and Heritage. ”But I hope that they, and others, will understand why this has come about - the costs and benefits of this project had to be considered in the light of the current financial picture. We all have to accept trade-offs, but even though we can’t afford to fund the project today, it remains a priority for the future.”
Cancelling this project will save £17 million.
BFI Film Centre
“It is obviously disappointing that the severe financial problems facing Britain mean that the Government can’t contribute at present to the BFI Film Centre,” said Ed Vaizey, Minister for the Creative Industries. “Although we are unable to commit to some large scale capital investment projects while tackling this unprecedented deficit, I want to make sure that we are supporting the film industry, and that we make sure every pound of public money we spend gives the maximum benefit.
The Government is still funding the building of a new film store to safeguard the National Film Archive and, although the BFI’s digital access project is not affordable at the present time, is looking for the BFI to examine alternative methods of support and delivery.
Cancelling this project will save £45 million.
Other projects being cancelled and the amount they will save are:
- Libraries modernisation work - £2 million (per annum)
- Find Your Talent - c £2 million
- A Night Less Ordinary - c £0.1m
- BFI archive digital access sub-project - £2.5 million
The full news release contains much more detail about the individual programmes and the reasons for the cuts.