The Adam Smith Institute has today published a report that calls for the abolition of the Arts Council and, if taxpayer-funded arts spending is to be retained, voucherisation of the money it currently disburses.
The author of the report, David Rawcliffe, notes that the Arts Council apparatus costs £50m each year. He further notes that the Council tends to support projects that don't enjoy the support of average consumers. The Council's disbursements are also hugely unequal. For example, London receives £24/capita but East England only £2/capita.
Mr Rawcliffe makes the case for vouchers:
"A voucher system would focus subsidies on producing the sorts of arts with the greatest positive externalities. Those artists selected by a consumer-driven system are likely also those that would generate the most national pride, that would be enjoyed the most by the next generation, and that would attract the most tourists. As already argued, consumer-side subsidies encourage innovation."
Read a full PDF of his report.