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For arts sake

The double 50th anniversary of Radio Three and the Arts Council in 1996 should have been a time for reflecting on the achievement of state subsidised culture in Britain. Instead it was another year of complaints about cuts. John Tusa, director of the Barbican Centre, says that the arts establishment has been so absorbed in the language of business that it has forgotten why we need the arts

By John Tusa   January 1997

The budget came and went. The worst the arts feared did not happen; there will be no draconian cut in funding, just another year of steady haemorrhage as the cash for the arts fails to compensate for the rate of inflation. It could have been much worse; many feared it would be. It could have been so much better. As it is, every arts institution, ground down by years of relentless underprovision, will make do. Meanwhile the great British arts debate-do we really want to fund them at all?-rolls on, illuminated over the past few months by two 50th anniversaries.

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