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Cash for culture

Despite the controversy of the Arts Council's recent cuts, it's still boom time for the arts in England

What is going on in the arts world? Emotions have been running high since autumn, with jubilation followed quickly by dismay. This was capped in early January, when James Purnell, secretary of state for culture, predicted a “new Renaissance” in British cultural life. How could everything look so rosy if it was really so black?

The background is Tessa Jowell’s announcement, last April, that £161m of lottery money was to be diverted from the arts to the Olympics over four years—representing roughly a 25 per cent cut in annual lottery arts funding. Public subsidy of the arts in Britain comes…

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