By Jonathan Isaby

IEA logo Today sees the Arts Council of England announcing funding decisions which will result in cuts in grants to a number of organisations, and increases for others. The Guardian is running a minute-by-minute live blog on the topic should you be interested.

But the Institute of Economic Affairs has taken the opportunity to call for the Government to stop subsidising the arts altogether.

Mark Littlewood, the IEA's Director General, has released the following statement:

“Popular arts don't need subsidies. Unpopular arts don't deserve subsidies. If the arts funded by the state really do enrich our lives sufficiently, then it won't be, and isn’t, difficult to persuade people to contribute. But there's no justification in forcing people to contribute.

“Shakespeare and other greats flourished through philanthropy. Yet state subsidy of the arts squeezes out the great history of patronage in the arts and instead pushes the agenda of a small elite with no personal stake involved.

“The business case sometimes made, for example by the Film Council, for state funding is nonsense. Of course investment in films will occasionally net a return but this should be a decision for private individuals not quangos.”