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Last Updated: Thursday, 12 January 2006, 20:14 GMT
Arts chair rejects role 'charade'
Geraint Talfan Davies
The chair says other issues are at stake in the row
The chairman of the Arts Council of Wales says he has no intention of going through the "charade" of reapplying for the role when his term runs out.

Geraint Talfan Davies says he has effectively been sacked by the decision not to automatically reappoint him.

Culture minister Alun Pugh says he wants a chairman who will increase access to the arts in Wales.

But Mr Talfan Davies, a former head of BBC Wales, said there were other issues governing the minister's decision.

Mr Talfan Davies told BBC Wales he would not be reapplying for the chairmanship at the end of his first three-year term in March.

Alan Pugh
Alun Pugh says he wants to widen arts access for the future

"I have no wish to go through any kind of charade," he said.

"I think this whole issue frankly is not about the job of chairman of the arts council and who fills it.

"The real issue at stake here is the relationship between the arts council and the government and in particular the decision to transfer responsibility for six of the largest companies - that's equivalent to 43% of the council's grant in aid."

The row has developed after the assembly government, following a review of quangos, decided to take over the direct funding of the council's six biggest clients including the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and the Welsh National Opera.

Opposition parties in the assembly share Mr Talfan Davies' concerns that the arts are becoming more politicised.

But Mr Pugh said that was nonsense.

'Destabilising'

He told assembly members this week that the argument is only about widening access to the arts to more deprived communities.

"There continues to be a real barrier to access to the arts in some communities in Wales," Mr Pugh told AMs in the assembly.

"There is a need to reform for the future in to ensure that we continue as a nation to deliver excellent arts with access for all.

But another former chairman of the arts council, Sybil Crouch, said increasing access was a priority for all council members.

"Clearly the minister is wanting more than that and I really feel that it's part perhaps of a wider agenda of destabilising the arts council," she said.




SEE ALSO:
Three more quangos scrapped
30 Nov 04 |  Wales


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