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The UK Film Council is to be axed as part of a cost-cutting drive by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), it has been announced.

The organisation, founded in 2000, had an annual budget of £15m to invest in British films and employed 75 people.

Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt said he wanted to establish a “direct and less bureaucratic relationship with the British Film Institute”.

UK Film Council chairman Tim Bevan called it “a bad decision”.

He said the announcement was “imposed without any consultation or evaluation”.

“People will rightly look back on today’s announcement and say it was a big mistake, driven by short-term thinking and political expediency,” he said.
Digital screens

The Film Council was set up by the Labour government to develop and promote the British film industry.

Funded by the National Lottery, it channelled about £160m into more than 900 films over the last 10 years, including Bend It Like Beckham, The Last King of Scotland and Streetdance 3D.

Other initiatives included the Digital Screen Network, which invested in 240 digital cinema screens across the UK – meaning the UK now has more digital cinemas than any other European country.

Mr Hunt said fifty-five public bodies including the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) were facing closure as the government committed to “increasing the transparency and accountability of its public bodies, while at the same time reducing their number and cost”.

“Many of these bodies were set up a considerable length of time ago, and times and demands have changed,” he added.

“The changes I have proposed today would help us deliver fantastic culture, media and sport, while ensuring value for money for the public and transparency about where taxpayers’ money is spent.

Source: BBC News

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