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Arts need winning ticket

The arts must learn how to use the National Lottery in a more creative and coherent way, National Heritage Secretary Virginia Bottomley said this week.

After the Budget, Mrs Bottomley announced a standstill grant to the Arts Council, which she said was Pounds 3 million more than planned.

Lord Gowrie, chairman of the Arts Council, said although it was a Pounds 3m improvement over the cut in the last Budget it still meant that a number of important arts bodies remained at risk and he had been warned that some might cease trading. The Arts Council is due to meet on December 11 and funds will be allocated in January.

Mrs Bottomley said there had never been so much opportunity for the arts. About Pounds 4.5 billion a year was now available for the heritage sectors through a combination of the National Lottery, private sector sponsorships, business schemes and local government initiatives.

Lottery money was not replacing core funding, she said, but the arts had to learn to live with the huge opportunities on offer. She cited the example of the National Youth Theatre which used its lottery grant of Pounds 1.7m to buy its lease, saving Pounds 48,000 a year, and improve its bar and restaurant which meant it could make money through letting.

Funding for the Government's Sports Match scheme (which provides matching funding for grassroots sports projects including those in schools) will stay the same, Mrs Bottomley announced.

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