Page last updated at 16:47 GMT, Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Culture Minister defends Arts Council cuts

The Culture Minister Ed Vaizey has defended a proposal to cut the budget of the Arts Council England (ACE) by almost 30% as part of the Spending Review.

He was questioned by the Culture Media and Sport Committee on 1 December 2010 on plans to cut the grant to ACE from £449m to £349m by 2014.

ACE distributes money to hundreds of arts venues, theatre groups and galleries, and it's officials have said the cut would have "a significant impact on the cultural life of the country".

However Mr Vaizey said the cut should not affect "frontline" arts services, saying there was likely to be a future rise in funding from the National Lottery.

He said the Arts Council needed to change, but said he refused to "bash" the organisation, despite criticisms of it by Conservative MP Philip Davies.

The government has confirmed that free entry to museums and galleries will be maintained.

The committee also heard from philanthropists Dame Vivien Duffield and Rosalind Riley who said that there was no "coherence" about philanthropy.

This was contrasted with high levels of donations by corporate organisations in the US.

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