United Kingdom/ 5.1 General legislation  

5.1.3 Allocation of public funds

The UK Government traditionally funds the arts through an arm's-length principle whereby the government sets an overall arts funding figure but, in the main, does not interfere with how it is distributed and leaves this to the various culture-form councils (although some critics argue that this principle has been eroded in recent years). Such intermediary bodies have been established through legislation and / or Royal Charter.

Historically, there has been a tradition of non-intervention in decision making about whom and what to support with government funds for culture. Ministers have a certain degree of discretion in relation to the distribution of funds, for example in relation to requiring structural or organisational change to / within the arm's length agencies they fund, imposing limits on how much is spent on administration or setting specific objectives and targets for such bodies to meet. Recent reviews in Wales and Scotland have put these powers to the test (see chapter 2.1 and chapter 4.1).

The National Lottery in the UK is centrally administered and controlled through Parliament, via the DCMS, by an appointed Lottery Commission. Its legislative base was established through the National Lottery Acts of 1993, 1998, 2004 and 2006.

Chapter published: 15-04-2011