Pre-Budget Report promises more funds for DIUS

Alistair Darling was under pressure last week to balance the financial winners and losers as he delivered his first Pre-Budget Report and Comprehensive Spending Review to Parliament since succeeding Gordon Brown as Chancellor.

As a result, there were inevitably some losers in the commercial world, namely business owners who don’t cash-out assets in the next six months and airlines, which are facing a Green levy.

However, the creative industries appear to have benefited. The Design Council’s paymaster the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills will see its budget rise from £18bn in 2007-2008 to £20.8bn by 2010-2011, as the 2007 CSR announced a 2.2 per cent annual average real growth for DIUS.

It is not yet known how this translates in terms of hard cash for the Design Council, which put in a bid for its next budget to DIUS earlier this year, but the department-wide increase aims to ensure that the UK has the skills, science and innovation base it needs to prosper in the competitive global economy.

The decision about funding for the Design Council will be left to DIUS, and it expects to be awarded a flat cash settlement for grant in aid, which means potentially receiving the same as this year and the last. Additionally, DIUS is helping the Design Council to access additional funds for individual projects from other departments.

The 2007 CSR enables total public funding of more than £1bn for business innovation led by the Technology Strategy Board over the period, including co-funding of at least £120m committed by the Research Councils, and co-funding of £180m committed by the Regional Development Agencies.

‘This has provided a major boost to the science and innovation agenda, giving DIUS both an enhanced budget and new responsibilities for driving innovation across all of Government,’ says a Design Council spokeswoman. ‘The creation of a beefed-up Technology Strategy Board, announced in the Sainsbury Review, is also notable.’

On the other side of the creative coin, it is also good news for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. The department has received what it calls ‘a generous funding settlement’ – an increase in its budget to £2.2bn over the next three years – which will allow continued investment in the arts and cultural sectors.

This settlement will maintain funding for arts, museums and galleries, including contributing to the Cultural Olympiad and the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, as well as delivering an improved offer for physical education for children.

Specifically, the Arts Council England will receive an extra £50m by 2010-2011. Extra projects will be funded, such as the new Museum of Liverpool development and the Victoria & Albert Museum for the new Sackler Centre for Arts Education.

According to Professor Sir Christopher Frayling, chairman of Arts Council England, ‘We have campaigned long and hard for this settlement and in the context of a tough spending round it is good to know that the Government has listened to the case we have put for the arts.’

The news was also welcomed by Culture Secretary James Purnell, who said, ‘Arts, culture and sport are at the heart of the Government’s mission to develop talent and provide opportunity for all. Over the next three years, thanks to a generous funding settlement, we will ensure that these sectors continue to thrive and flourish.’

Pre-budget report winners

2007 Comprehensive Spending Review announces 2.2% annual average real growth for Design Council funder the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills

Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills has its budget raised from £18bn in 2007-2008 to £20.8bn by 2010-2011

Department for Culture, Media and Sport is to be given an increase in its budget to £2.2bn over the next three years, to help with arts, sport, museums and galleries, including the Cultural Olympiad and the London 2012 Olympics

The Arts Council receives extra £50m funding by 2010-11, as well as special projects funding representing an additional £2.3m next year, and £2.6m and £4.5m in subsequent years

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