COMPENDIUM CULTURAL POLICIES AND TRENDS IN EUROPE
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United Kingdom/ 4. Current issues in cultural policy development and debate  

4.3 Other relevant issues and debates

The National Lottery

The introduction of the National Lottery in the mid 1990s has had a major impact on the cultural landscape of the UK, especially on the infrastructure. The Lottery has invested more than GBP 3 billion in the arts good cause and more than GBP 4 billion in the heritage good cause. After an early focus on capital projects, the government made changes to enable more funding to go to smaller community projects and make the Lottery more accessible to communities. This policy shift may also have acknowledged to some extent that some of the new capital projects had been too optimistic in their forecasts of attendance numbers, and had experienced financial difficulties when their income was less than originally anticipated. Policy directions issued by the government to Lottery distributing bodies require them to take into account such matters as involving the public and local communities in making polices, setting priorities and distributing money, improving access and participation for those who do not currently benefit, inspiring children and young people, fostering community initiatives, volunteering, talent, innovation and excellence, reducing economic and social deprivation, and ensuring that all areas have access to the money distributed.

In October 2007, the Big Lottery Fund's Community Libraries programme awarded local library authorities between GBP 250 000 and GBP 2 million to renovate, extend or build new facilities that offer a broader range of activities to their communities. In total 58 libraries were to receive a share of GBP 80 million as a result of a joint partnership between the Fund and the MLA.

London 2012 Olympics

A revised public sector funding provision of GBP 9.325 billion for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games was announced in March 2007. This is made up of contributions from the government (GBP 5.975 billion), the National Lottery (GBP 2.175 billion) and the Greater London Authority and London Development Agency, who are contributing GBP 1.175 billion between them). However, these figures may change as the remit of the public expenditure reductions sought by the new government elected in May 2010. Current plans envisage the National Lottery meeting 23% of the package compared to 44% under the earlier proposals, which had previously led to much concern and criticism in the cultural sector.

Of the National Lottery contribution of GBP 2.175 billion:

  • GBP 750 million is being raised from dedicated Olympic Lottery games;
  • GBP 340 million is being spent by the sports lottery distributors to maximise the benefits of the 2012 Games to elite and community sport in the UK; and
  • GBP 1085 million is being transferred from funds held in the National Lottery Distribution Fund.

The DCMS is determined that the London 2012 Games will leave a long-term legacy. Three-quarters (75p) of every pound spent by the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) - which is building the venues and infrastructure for the 2012 Games - is going on physical regeneration, transforming the areas in and around the Olympic Park into a well-planned and well-managed safe and sustainable environment.

The arts and heritage good causes can still expect to receive, on current projections, nearly GBP 2 billion of new Lottery funding over the five year period of the Olympic transfers (2008/09 to 2012/13). After 2012, all of the Lottery good causes income will revert to non-Olympic causes, including the arts, and they will benefit from development value realised from the Olympic site. The government has made clear there will be no further diversion from Lottery good causes to fund the Olympics.

Legacy Trust UK has been established to help communities across the country build a lasting legacy from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Legacy Trust UK has allocated GBP 40 million funding through twelve regional and four national programmes. The funding of Legacy Trust UK will act as a catalyst to link grassroots activities across the UK into the Olympic programme, so that people from all walks of life - not just athletes and sports fans - can be a part of this major event. Its projects are very wide-ranging, but all share three key aims:

  • to unite culture, sport and education, in line with the values and vision of the Olympics;
  • to make a lasting difference to all those involved; and
  • to be grassroots projects, often small in scale, and unite communities of interest at local and regional level.

In its bid to host the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games in London in 2012, the government set out its aspiration to develop a cultural programme alongside the sporting elements of the Games that will offer a unique opportunity for the British people to engage with and participate in a major cultural celebration. Launched in September 2008, the Cultural Olympiad is a developing four-year programme of cultural activity designed to celebrate the Olympic and Paralympic spirit throughout the UK. The Cultural Olympiad seeks to be a showcase of British talent and innovation, and to reflect the key themes of the London Games - celebrating London and the UK welcoming the world; inspiring and involving young people; and generating a positive legacy. There are three main elements of the Cultural Olympiad. They are the mandatory ceremonies, including the Opening and Closing Ceremonies and Torch Relay; major projects including commissioned art works and a UK-wide three month Cultural Festival.

UK City of Culture Programme 2013

Early in 2009, the then Secretary of State for Culture announced the creation of a working group to consider the feasibility of a UK City of Culture programme every four years, building on the success of Liverpool as European Capital of Culture in 2008 and the momentum of the 2012 Olympics in London. The working group's report, issued in September 2009, endorsed the concept and almost 30 cities and local areas expressed interest as potential candidates to become the first UK City of Culture in 2013. The winning city announced in 2010, is Derry-Londonderry in Northern Ireland.

Responding to Climate Change

The previous UK Government set an ambitious target of an 80% reduction in carbon emissions by 2050. In common with other publicly funded sectors, the cultural field is expected to play its part in the realisation of such a target. There is increasing recognition in the UK that responding to climate change not only has benefits for reductions in carbon emissions, but can also help the sustainability of cultural organisations by assisting them achieve cost savings. For example, as a result of a partnership with the electronics company Philips, the National Theatre was able to save approximately GBP 100 000 on its annual lighting costs.

Moreover, with escalating energy prices, it is not just building costs, but also issues such as large scale touring that have to be seen in a new perspective if cultural organisations are to begin to reduce their carbon footprint. Thus, responding to environmental challenges has become one of the policy priorities of cultural agencies such as Arts Council England and the British Council.

Addressing Copyright Infringement

In recognition of the growing threat posed by film theft to the UK film industry, the UK Film Council undertook a study which considered both the scale and extent of copyright theft and the means by which it could be countered. In terms of measures to combat piracy, the study explored the legal framework; enforcement; security measures; education and consumer awareness; and the development of new business models. The findings of this study were presented in the report Film theft in the UK, which set out recommendations for government, the industry and other stakeholders, which have been co-ordinated by the UK Film Council-led Film Theft Task Force.

The UK Film Council has continued to support the all-industry intellectual property education body, the Industry Trust for IP Awareness, especially the "respect creativity" elements which has been run to promote the UK audio-video industry's value to the UK and to explain the importance of IP. The UK Film Council's relationship with the UK film production sector has been utilised to provide spokespeople and ambassadors for this campaign.

The launch by the Film Council of Find Any Film is another example of promoting copyright, as the site guides the consumer to authorised digital services; the first time such a facility had existed to group all the legitimate offerings in one online location.

The Film Council-led "London Fake Free Zone" project was pilot tested in November 2009 in three London boroughs. The results were positive and are the foundation to progress the concept with other industries, the most obvious one being the sports goods sector. The initiative may help the International Committee (IOC) to protect the 2012 Olympics from the counterfeiting of its merchandise and deter unauthorised retailers.

The Film Council also made recommendations in response to the Digital Britain report in March 2009 on tackling copyright infringement. At the time of the preparation of the UK entry, it was unclear whether or not addressing copyright infringement will become a responsibility of the British Film Institute once the UK Film Council is abolished in April 2011.


Chapter published: 15-04-2011

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