BFI budget to be cut by 15%

U.K. government reduces org's coin to $21.6 mil

LONDON — The British Film Institute will have its budget slashed by 15% over the next four years following the announcement of the U.K. government’s Comprehensive Spending Review on Wednesday.

The reduction will see the org’s current grant-in-aid pot reduced in revenue from £16 million ($25.4 million) to $21.6 million, but a rep from BFI said taking into account inflation, this should leave the org still with some $23 million in grant-in-aid.

News comes after Blighty’s government announced in its Spending Review that the Department for Culture, Media and Sport will have its budget cut from $2.2 billion to $1.7 billion by 2014/15. Cuts across all departments come in a bid to tackle the nation’s $135 billion deficit, the largest in Europe.

In response to the cut, Amanda Nevill, director of the BFI, said: “Over recent months we have carefully been looking at the best options to protect our staff and all key activities, but the reality is that the BFI will have to change shape and re-scale considerably over the next 12-18 months.”

Whether or not this re-scale will include staff redundancies is yet to be decided.

In response to early announcements over the summer that the DCMS would have to reduce its overall budget by 25%, the department decided to shutter the U.K. Film Council in July, in addition to closing or reforming a further 18 of its 55 public bodies.

Since the announcement, there has been increased speculation that the distribution of lottery funds would be administered by the BFI but paid out via the Arts Council, which will receive a near 30% cut in coin.

DCMS’ core capital budget is set to reduce by 32% while its total administration budget will be slashed by 41%.

The government has also frozen the cost of TV license fee that funds the BBC until 2016/17 and made changes that will see the pubcaster have a 16% cut overall.

“To deal with an unprecedented financial deficit we have been forced to make some incredibly difficult decisions,” said Jeremy Hunt, secretary of state for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport. “But in the current economic climate, this is a good settlement for DCMS’ sectors.”

He added that “cutting bureaucracy and waste, and prioritizing the services valued by the public” will be a better long-term solution for the department.

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