The UK Government in regard to England and the Welsh Government (and devolved administrations in Scotland and Northern Ireland) traditionally funds the arts and culture through an arm’s-length principle whereby the government sets an overall funding figure and indicates priorities but, in the main, does not interfere with how funds are distributed. Such intermediary bodies have been established through legislation and/or Royal Charter. Ministers have a certain degree of discretion in relation to the distribution of funds, for example in relation to requiring structural or organisational change to / within the arm’s length agencies they fund, imposing limits on how much is spent on administration or setting specific objectives and targets for such bodies to meet.
Local authorities in England and Wales are legally obliged to support library provision, but legal powers to support arts, museums and other cultural areas is permissive. As such it will depend on local political will and available resources.
The National Lottery in the UK is centrally administered and controlled through Parliament, via the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, by an appointed Lottery Commission. Its legislative base was established through the National Lottery Acts of 1993, 1998, 2004 and 2006.
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