The London Olympics juggernaut has been accused of crushing funding to the arts. A grouping of the UK's senior arts and sports administrators warned that the lottery money being diverted from the arts to the Olympics would damage the arts, and reduce participation in sport.
The Voluntary Arts Network, the Central Council for Physical Recreation, Heritage Link and the National Council for Voluntary organisations have also written to MP's; warning them that lottery cuts will jeopardise the legacy of the games at community level. They have asked for an urgent meeting with Tessa Jowell (culture secretary), claiming that arts, heritage and sports charities will lose more than £100m.
Jowell intends to divert an additional £675m from the National Lottery, to fund the Olympics behemoth (the budget for which has spiralled out of control).
Nicholas Hytner, director of the National Theatre, said:
"There is a spectacular lack of logic in using money earmarked for the arts to plug the holes in the Olympics bills. The money raided from the lottery will largely affect small, innovative, experimental organisations and individuals who are the lifeblood of creativity in the UK. Pulling the carpet out from under them and nobbling their money is undermining the future of our major arts institutions."
Tim Lamb, chief executive of the Central Council for Physical Recreation, said:
"If there is to be a real legacy of increasing participation in sport, it seems ironic, if not perverse, for money to be taken away from community sport to fund the Olympics."
Jowell claims that the diversion of funds will not begin until 2009; a cynic might note that by 2009 Labour will have been kicked out of office, and can therefore wash their hands of the entire sorry affair.