Last week was a very interesting week indeed for the arts in general. For me, not so. The BBC reported the Forbes Top 100 Billionaires list. Interesting read, especially in light of the Government’s insistence that the arts looks to more philanthropic ways to fund artistic endeavours. According to the Forbes List, now in its 25th year, there are 1,210 individuals (yes, individuals not companies... we're are talking personal wealth) who have a combined wealth of $4.5 trillion living in throughout the world today, which dwarfs our national debt of £1000.4 Billion as of September 2010 according to the National Statistics Online.
At this time of “economic crisis" how is it that the number of billionaires around the world increased in the past year? Let alone the fact that as far as the Forbes website is concerned the $4.5 trillion figure of wealth these billionaires possess apparently outstrips the gross domestic product of Germany. That's a whole country's market value of the goods and services it produces around the world plus whatever money the country makes locally? If you don't believe me, check it out. This list indicated the billionaires worldwide. Before you get to them, there are the Millionaires. The Telegraph online reported last year that there are 280,000 Millionaires living in the UK. Perhaps our ConDem government are understanding the ways of the entrepreneur and philanthropy on a far deeper level than any of us imagined. Perhaps ConDem are looking to tap this rich resource of wealth for the good of all who live in the UK.
Unfortunately, this was off set the very next day, again reported by the BBC. Apparently when the government axed bodies like the UK Film Council, which was done to save money, little things like redundancies and cancelling the various leases of offices, equipment etc weren't taken into account. £73 million pounds worth of projects were dumped without knowing what the full financial implications of such drastic action were to be. And to go even further, the National Audit Office website states that:
"Some decisions have been made based on insufficient financial information and analysis, as exemplified by the decisions to merge and close some arm’s-length bodies. This can leave organizations exposed and unprepared for the future and lead to high overall costs or the displacement of costs elsewhere."
Hmm... what chance have we got to have confidence in this government to ensure the UK's finances let alone it's arts culture is safe? Of course the people who will lose out in all of this will be the bigger arts organisations who depend on arts council funding year on year.
Where does this leave me? To be honest, it leaves me no better or worse off to know this information. I'll take note, have a smile to myself and move on. I have other more pressing matters to consider...