Hunt unveils £80m arts match fund to boost philanthropy

Culture secretary Jeremy Hunt wants the UK to become the first country in the world where it's normal for people to leave 10 per cent of their legacy to charity

Culture secretary Jeremy Hunt
Culture secretary Jeremy Hunt

Jeremy Hunt, the culture secretary, has announced an £80m arts match fund to boost philanthropy in the culture sector.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport will put £30m into the scheme and £50m will be taken from the National Lottery over the next four years. Hunt said the money will be put into a series of match fund schemes in the arts to try and raise at least an equivalent amount from private donors.

Speaking at a launch event in London yesterday, which was organised by the European Association for Philanthropy and Giving, Hunt outlined a 10-point plan to encourage individual giving, including a government review due to be released next spring.

Hunt said he wanted to explode the myth that this was simply in response to arts funding cuts. "Philanthropy is not about replacing state funding with private support," he said.

He added that the review would try to reach all types and sizes of organisation and that it would not take a "one-size-fits-all" approach. He also outlined an ambition for the UK to become the first country in the world where it would be normal for people to leave 10 per cent of their legacy to charity.

Alan Davey, chief executive of Arts Council England, also used the event to outline findings from a report published today on whether the long-term development of endowments in the arts should be encouraged.

The report says the Arts Council does not think endowments should be a focus for arts organisations at the present time due to "more pressing concerns about cashflow", but adds that endowments "can and should be part of a much longer-term strategy to develop the private sector contribution to the arts over a number of decades".

Speaking in a panel discussion at the event, Labour peer Lord Myners, the former City minister, said the match fund plans were not enough. "The money announced today sounded suspiciously to me like existing money that has been rebadged," he said.

Hunt also said the honours system could be used to recognise giving, something recommended by crossbencher Lord Janvrin during a debate about philanthropy in the Lords last week.

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