Harman fears of DCMS abolition

Harman fears of DCMS abolition

The shadow secretary of state for culture, media and sport, Harriet Harman, has voiced fears the government plans to abolish the department of culture, media and sport (DCMS) after the Olympics.

Writing in the Evening Standard, Harman said: "Now I fear that Cameron is about to deal yet another blow to the arts by abolishing the DCMS altogether. There are well-sourced rumours in Westminster and the arts world that after the Olympics, the government will announce that the DCMS is no longer needed."

She also criticised the Budget's cap of tax relief to those making philanthropic donations, citing Arts Council chair Liz Forgan's estimate that this will "cost the arts at least £80m in lost donations", and saying culture secretary Jeremy Hunt was "clearly blindsided" by the philanthropy tax.

Harman added: "The department is a focal point for the arts. It gives them an important voice at the heart of government and a seat at the Cabinet table . . . It's bad enough for arts and culture that David Cameron ignores his culture secretary, as he appears to have done. I urge him to look again at the tax on philanthropy and heritage VAT. But it would be worse if the entire department were to be scrapped. We must not allow that to happen."  

The DCMS was unavailable for comment at the time of writing.