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Wednesday, July 22, 1998 Published at 10:23 GMT 11:23 UK


Super-body may control film funding

Big money industry: £560m worth of British films were made last year

Bodies involved in the British film industry may be incorporated into one "super-agency" in a bid to streamline policy.

The British Film Institute, British Screen, the Film Commission and the film-funding role of the Arts Council could be embraced by a single British Film Agency which would initially receive all the Government and National Lottery funding channelled into the industry.

The idea has come off the back of the Government's Comprehensive Spending Review announced last week.

The Culture, Media and Sport Secretary Chris Smith is expected to announce on Friday how his department intends to spend the extra £290m coming its way over the next three years.

[ image: Battle for dominance among agencies possible]
Battle for dominance among agencies possible
When the extra funds were announced last week the Culture Department indicated that a more streamlined approach would have to be taken in policy delivery.

"The proportion of funding used in bureaucracy will be reduced with the goal of focusing support for each sector through a single clearly-defined body," the department said.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown, also signalled a need for change saying that the extra funds for museums the arts and sport came "as a result of cutting wasteful bureaucracy and quangos and a new targeting of resources on priorities".

Organisations handling the funds for the arts and tourism may also be in line for rationalisation.

A consultation period to decide the best structure for the new film agency is likely to follow any announcement that it will go ahead.

But the scheme is likely to see agencies involved in the industry jostling for a dominant position.

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