U.K. Film Council budget in good shape


LONDON -- The U.K. Film Council finds itself in a positive funding position after the Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling delivered his debut pre-budget speech Tuesday.
The newly crowned Chancellor -- Darling took up the reins from Prime Minister Gordon Brown -- told a packed House of Commons that funding for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, would rise 6% in line with inflation to £2.2 billion ($4.4 billion) by 2011.

It means the DCMS, which fuels the U.K. Film Council's coffers for all things movie here, should have a bit of extra cash to dish out.

In his speech, which maps out the Government's conclusions of the Comprehensive Spending Review, Darling said: "The budget for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport will increase to £2.2 billion in three years time. This guarantees an inflation increase for the arts, free access to museums and galleries, extra for sport so that every child and young person can take part in five hours of sport a week."

He also noted the extra cash will "deliver the Cultural Olympiad in the run-up to London 2012."

For the Council, it is a wait and see game, as the organization will now have to sit it out while the DCMS decides which arts and cultural bodies should benefit from the government's burst of generosity.

U.K. Film Council CEO John Woodward said: "It's extremely good news that DCMS has secured a generous funding settlement in today's Spending Review. As a result of today's announcement the landscape for film, the arts and U.K. culture looks much brighter."

Six months ago council insiders were chinwagging about the possibility of heavy cuts to its budgets with the inevitable job losses that would follow.