Rees-Mogg may scrap Arts Council

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Arts Council England and other national cultural organisations face being abolished as Jacob Rees-Mogg turns his attention to arm’s length government funded bodies in his review of government efficiency.

The Cabinet Office’s review of public bodies launched this week by Rees-Mogg, the minister for Brexit opportunities and government efficiency, will look at whether “they should be abolished or retained”, and it will fall to Nadine Dorries’s DCMS to assess the cultural quangos, including the British Film Institute and Historic England as to whether they are “a necessity” and “accountable, efficient and effective” and whether “decisions would be best taken by ministers in the department” The Stage reports.

The review will also look at whether money allocated is efficiently spent, with savings of 5% being looked for.

"Reviews will consider whether the body should be abolished or retained; whether it should continue to deliver all of its functions; and whether it has an effective relationship with its department” Rees-Mogg said.

"The outcome of this work should see powers returned to accountable ministers, greater efficiency and where appropriate the state stepping back both financially and from people’s lives. Bodies will make the most of Brexit opportunities, reflect the society they serve, improve their use of data and work as a coherent system rather than in silos."

There are 295 arm’s-length bodies in England spending more than £220 billion a year and employing more than 300,000 people. 

Ironically, thew minister’s father, William Rees-Mogg, was the Arts Council chairman in the 1980s who oversaw a major reform the reduced the council’s activities and halved the number of arts organisations getting regular funding.

 

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