British Creative Industries Minister Ed Vaizey announced yesterday, June 22, that there are “no current plans” to merge UK Film Council and British Film Institute, thus ending a long period of speculation that the two bodies would amalgamate.
In a written statement in Parliament yesterday, Creative Industries Minister Ed Vaizey stated that “There are no current plans to merge the UK Film Council and the British Film Institute.”
The merger was originally proposed in August 2009 by the then UK Film Minster Siôn Simon and the idea was welcomed by UKFC chairman Tim Bevan and BFI Chair Greg Dyke. At the time, Vaizey, who was then Shadow Arts minister, declined to lend his support to the plan.
Speaking about the move, John Woodward, CEO of the UK Film Council said: “It’s nearly a year since the DCMS initiated merger discussions – since then the political and economic landscape has been turned on its head.We’re now in a different world and it’s clear from the Chancellor’s Budget that the next few months will see further public funding cuts coming the way of all sectors.”
In what has been described by observers as a day of “relief” for the British film industry, there were no shocks in yesterday’s British budget with no cuts imposed on Film Tax relief (just one small change concerning Multi Year Claims has been introduced) and Lottery funding will remain in place.
Minister Vaizey commented yesterday he was “planning to reassess fundamentally how the Government support film in this country. I want to make sure that we are supporting the film industry so that it is ready for the challenges it will face in the decade to come, and that we make sure every pound of public money we spend gives the maximum benefit.”
Earlier this month the Department for Culture, Media and Sport announced a £73 million savings contribution to reduce the UK's fiscal deficit with over 50 per cent of the DCMS cuts announced coming from the film sector.
The UKFC’s Woodward added: “We welcome the new Government’s clear commitment to retaining the UK film tax relief and lottery funding for film, but only when we get past October’s public spending review will we know the full picture for public funding for film over the next few years.”