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Wednesday, 14 March, 2001, 16:25 GMT
Conservatives: Culture and media

Find out more about Conservative Party policies on arts, culture and the media.

Arts and culture funding is a devolved matter dealt with in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland by their respective bodies. Broadcasting regulation and the National Lottery are a Westminster matter.


ARTS FUNDING

The party says it would raise 2bn from the privatisation of Channel 4 and museums and galleries would benefit through an endowment worth 210m a year.

Conservatives have also expressed concern over what they say has been "political interference" by Labour in funding decisions. They have pledged to reform the distribution of public money to the arts.

The Arts Council of England would be replaced by a radical alternative "more in tune with artists' needs", says the party.


MEDIA

The party plans to sell-off Channel 4, something the broadcaster opposes.

Shadow Culture Secretary Peter Ainsworth has said the sell-off of Channel 4 would raise at least 2bn, which a Conservative government would channel into galleries and museums.

The party says that a privatised Channel 4 would continue to operate as a regulated public-service broadcaster with an enhanced remit to deliver high-quality drama, current affairs, news and minority programming on its core free-to-air channel.

The money would be supplemented by an extra 1bn from National Lottery funds currently reserved for the distribution account.

The Conservative Party believes that the BBC should be looking at ways of reducing the licence fee.

The party believes that at the moment the corporation should not use what Conservatives say are its "privileged funding mechanisms" to stamp out competition from those that depend on advertising.

The party says that it wants to simplify media regulation to allow British-based media corporations to compete more effectively.

On the BBC, the party says that it will ensure that the corproation comes under independent regulation.

This regulator would be charged with ensuring that BBC assets are used to the best advantage of the taxpayer and stopping the BBC expand in any way which is hostile to competition.


NATIONAL LOTTERY

The Conservatives say they will reduce the National Lottery's 3.5bn reserve fund which protects the operator against a possible drop in ticket sales.

The party says that this is too large and in government it would take 1bn from the fund to help create an arts endowment, which will be used to fund museums and galleries.

The Conservatives say they want to put the lottery's grants in the hands of local people and to remove it from "political interference".

The party is committed to allowing the public more of a say in how the lottery money is spent on locally developed and controlled projects.

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