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UK stars warn of arts funding cuts impact

14th March 2011

A number of stars from UK stage and screen have voiced their concerns about the impact government spending cuts could have on the country's arts scene.

In an open letter to the Observer yesterday (March 13th), signatories including Kenneth Branagh, Jeremy Irons and Dame Helen Mirren said that culture is an 'easy target' for cuts but warned the effects could be devastating.

They claimed public investment in the arts generates a 'staggering' return for country, contributing more than GBP 7 billion a year to the economy.

Last October, the coalition announced a 30 per cent budget cut for Arts Council England, as well as the scrapping of the UK Film Council.

The letter states: 'Before the last election, the government promised to usher in a 'golden age' for the arts. The reality couldn't be further from this. We are currently facing the biggest threat to funding the arts and culture have experienced in decades.'

Responding to the letter, culture secretary Jeremy Hunt said the arts cuts were not as deep as those imposed on some other sectors, claiming the government recognises the 'economic importance' of theatre and film.

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