The government has approved funding for a National Film Centre on London’s South Bank, as well as extensions to the Tate Modern and British Museum. Prime Minister Gordon Brown said the funding highlighted the government’s “continuing support for the arts”.
Earlier in the summer, it emerged that the Department for Culture, Media and Sport had a massive shortfall in its budget over the next two years.
Shadow culture secretary Jeremy Hunt responded to the new plans, saying: “Unless Gordon Brown can explain where this money comes from, this looks like nothing more than a hollow PR stunt.”
The government said it would provide £45m to help fund the National Film Centre, a long-cherished project of the late film director and former BFI chairman Anthony Minghella. The centre will provide a new home for the British Film Institute and become a venue for key film events, such as the opening night of the London Film Festival and global premieres.
It is expected to house five digital cinemas and is destined for completion in 2015. Further investment will come from the London Mayor’s office, which has promised £5m, the sale of the BFI’s current London offices and outside investors.
A spokesman for the BFI said: “We’re absolutely delighted that we can start to move forward and realise our long-term strategy. “Film is up there with other art forms such as dance and opera and the visual arts. It is high time that film got a centre worthy of the form.”
The proposed £215m extension – an 11-storey brick and glass structure – will increase capacity at the museum “responding to the needs of visitors in the 21st Century”.