Arts Council England Too Soft a Touch???
Date: 13 February 2004
A report released yesterday by the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee (PAC) may make uncomfortable reading for anyone at Arts Council England (ACE). It concludes that National Lottery players should be “rightly unimpressed” with how their money had been spent. Millions of pounds have been lost on arts projects that have closed, been completed late or substantially overrun their budgets. Of 15 major projects the committee has tracked progress on since 1999, there were several theatre rebuilds highlighted, including: the Royal Court (36.5% over budget), Sadler’s Wells (58% over), Shakespeare’s Globe (8.9% over), Manchester’s Royal Exchange (11.4% over), the Royal Opera House (12.1% over) and Malvern Festival Theatre (11.8% over). The PAC had previously expressed concern that ACE “might come to be seen as a soft touch in awarding supplementary funding”. Since that assessment, the Council has reportedly given an additional £12.6 million to existing projects.
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