New culture minister Jeremy Hunt delivered his first speech since taking office today, in which he spoke of the need to “strengthen philanthropy in the cultural sector” ahead of a Comprehensive Spending Review in the Autumn.

Speaking at the Roundhouse in Camden, Hunt said the arts sector must take its “share of the pain” in terms of spending cuts, and unveiled a proposal to redirect £50million annually from the Lottery to the arts sector to cushion the blow.

Hunt also promised that culture would not be singled out as a “soft target”, but conceded that the extra lottery money “won't be able to bridge the gap this year”.

He said the prime targets would be “admin and bureaucracy”, with Arts Council England being asked to reduce its administration costs to 5% from the current figure of 6.6%.

Hunt spoke passionately of his belief that an increase in private sector donations will play a large part in plugging the gap left by the cuts. “I believe we can do much more to strengthen philanthropy in the cultural sector ... Where it can work I want it to work as well as possible. I particularly want to help smaller organisations to help themselves” he said.

Responding positively to the speech, Colin Tweedy, chief executive Arts and Business said: “It was heartening to hear how pivotal the new Secretary of State believes the role of the private sector is in shaping our future arts funding ecology. He clearly holds cultural philanthropy very dear to his heart - the key three words I took from the speech were philanthropy, philanthropy, philanthropy.”


We will continue to update the Cuts Watch page as we gather more responses from theatres, industry leaders and arts organisations. Publicists can email contributions for publication to editorial@whatsonstage.com. Please also add your views to User Comments at the bottom of stories.