British government to end census and chop arts funding as part of budget cuts

10:21, July 11, 2010      

Email | Print | Subscribe | Comments | Forum 

The British government said on Saturday that it will abolish the 10-yearly census in a bid to save money, and has urged arts organizations to look to charitable and corporate donations to make up for the money they are likely to lose as government funding is axed.

The census has been running at 10-yearly intervals for 200 years, apart from a break during the Second World War, but the need for the government to tackle the record public spending deficit of 153 billion pounds (about 240 billion U.S. dollars) is putting pressure on all areas of the budget.

The Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude told the Daily Telegraph newspaper that the census was too expensive, costing about 482 million pounds each time and that there were cheaper alternatives for collecting census information.

"There are, I believe, ways of doing this which will provide better, quicker information, more frequently and cheaper," he said.

Maude added that census information could be obtained more often than every 10 years, and at a cheaper cost using commercial databases, like credit ratings, or records from public bodies, like councils.

"This would give you more accurate, much more timely data in real time. There is a load of data out there in loads of different places," he said.

Census information is used as the basis for decision-making by central and local government as well as commercial and charitable organizations. However the 10-year gap between censuses means the figures are soon out of date.

In addition, it is believed that over one million homes fail to fill in their census forms.

The move, which is likely to be approved by the Cabinet in the coming week, will not affect the next census. Planning is already well advanced for the 2011 census, which will take place in March.

Most government departments face cuts of between 25 and 40 percent, which the Treasury, the finance ministry, ordered them to prepare for. Only health and foreign aid are excluded from cuts.

The world of the arts has been told by the government to embrace American style fund-raising techniques to make up for coming big cuts in funding from the government, The Financial Times reported on Saturday.

Culture secretary Jeremy Hunt and chancellor of the exchequer George Osborne met leaders of the artistic community on Thursday, the report said. Present were representatives of some of the leading arts organizations in the country including the British Museum, the Royal National Theater, and the National Gallery.

A Treasury source was reported to have said "This is not an academic exercise. Most departments have been asked to plan on the basis of 25 and 40 per cent real reductions in spending over a four-year period and that's what they have to do."

Hunt said after coming to office in May that even the 9.3 billion pound budget for the Olympics may not be safe, and that there needed to be a major shift in funding, with arts organizations looking to donations from wealthy benefactors and to corporate donations.

The Financial Times newspaper reported one of those present at the meeting as confirming that Hunt had told arts institutions to aim for an American model of philanthropic and corporate funding, rather the current hand-outs from the state budget.

Source:Xinhua

(Editor:黄蓓蓓)

  • Do you have anything to say?

双语词典
dictionary

  
Special Coverage
  • Premier Wen Jiabao visits Hungary, Britain, Germany
  • From drought to floods
Major headlines
Editor's Pick
  • On Sept. 28, tourists travel around the Mingshashan Scenic Area in Dunhuang, Gansu province by camel. With the National Day vacation right around the corner, more and more tourists from home and abroad are going to Dunhuang. Riding on a camel, they travel in the desert to enjoy the cities rare form of natural scenery. (Xinhua/Zhang Weixian)
  • Chinese forest armed forces work together with forest firefighters on Sept. 28. (Xinhua/Chai Liren)
  • Photo taken on Sept. 29, 2011 shows strong wind blows trees in Sanya, south China's Hainan Province. Typhoon Nesat heads towards south China and is moving at an average wind speed of 20 km per hour toward the west coast of China's Guangdong Province. (Xinhua/Hou Jiansen)
  • A fallen tree is seen on a road in Qionghai, south China's Hainan Province, Sept. 29, 2011. Typhoon Nesat was predicted to land in Hainan later Thursday, bringing heavy rainfalls to the island. (Xinhua/Meng Zhongde)
  • Arash Kamalvand (L) of Iran spikes the ball during the semifinal against South Korea at the 16th Asian Men's Volleyball Championship in Tehran, Iran, Sept. 28, 2011. Iran won 3-1 to advance to the final. (Xinhua/Ahmad Halabisaz)
  • A man visits "Thy Word Is Truth, the Bible Ministry Exhibition of the Protestant Church in China", during its opening at Mount Vernon Place United Methodist Church in Washington DC, capital of the United States, Sept. 28, 2011. Through the Bible's various Chinese versions, ancient or modern, as well as pictures, paintings, calligraphy, art works and historical documents, the exhibition was expected to give an overall understanding of how Bible was brought into China, how it was translated, published, distributed and loved. (Xinhua/Zhang Jun)
Hot Forum Discussion