Axe hovers over small presses

<p>Several MPs have weighed in against Arts Council England&#39;s proposed funding cuts to publishers, as publishers themselves continue to pile pressure on the organisation. Over 194 regularly funded organisations (RFOs) have been threatened with complete or partial cuts, including 27 bodies funded by the literature department. The review process ended on 15th January, with final decisions to be made at the end of the month. </p><p>Dedalus Publishers says it has 10 arts organisations signed on to its proposed class action lawsuit against &thinsp;ACE. Dedalus, which adds it has &quot;lawyers lining up to take our case&quot;, aims to take &thinsp;ACE to the High Court for a judicial review for not following its own disinvestment procedures. Eric Lane, Dedalus m.d., said: &quot;We will win on procedure. Public bodies simply must follow their own rules.&quot;</p><p>Former Labour minister for Europe Denis MacShane singled out Dedalus in a letter to culture secretary James Purnell, writing: &quot;Why is a Labour government alienating a natural community of support by allowing the &thinsp;Arts Council to hit shoestring outfits that bring European writers to a British readership?&quot; Shadow Tory culture minister Ed Vaizey attacked the time frame of the cuts: &quot;There needs to be a proper debate, and organisations under threat must have adequate time to defend themselves. It is completely unacceptable to carry out the biggest cull of arts organisations in history in just six weeks.&quot;</p><p>The cuts come at an awkward time for ACE, in the midst of the McMaster report, a policy review of arts funding released last week. The report calls for a shift in how culture is funded, with an emphasis on &quot;innovation and excellence&quot;.<br /></p>