BFI falls victim to government cuts

Deficit woes lead to reduction of U.K. support

Blighty’s new government has scrapped plans to build the £45 million ($67 million) British Film Institute Film Center in London in an effort to cut the U.K.’s fiscal deficit.

“We are facing an unprecedented financial situation in this country, and it is essential that we act now to reduce debt,” Jeremy Hunt, the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport, said Thursday.

Plans for the $3.7 million BFI archive digital access project have also been axed but work on a building to house the National Film Archive will continue.

Creative Industries Minister Ed Vaizey said it was disappointing that the country’s “severe financial problems” had affected the BFI. “I am planning to fundamentally reassess how the government supports film in this country.”

A statement from the BFI said it was “concerned that film is bearing the brunt” of government cuts.

“Over 50% of the department’s cuts that have been announced are coming from film,” it said. “Film is a critical component of Britain’s future cultural and economic prosperity, so we welcome the minister’s commitment to reviewing government’s support for film. Our one plea is that this is done very quickly.”

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