Ed Vaizey attacks Film Council
Culture minister Ed Vaizey has written to the head of the UK Film Council demanding "urgent reassurances" over claims it is using public money to fight its proposed abolition.
The Government announced the decision to axe the council last month as part of a drive to cut costs, sparking fury in the film industry with some of its leading lights lining up to criticise the move.
In the letter, sent last night to chief executive officer John Woodward, Mr Vaizey writes that he is "very concerned about what has come to light".
He goes on to say: "It looks as though sources at the Film Council have been overzealously briefing in order to protect their interests. As a result they may be damaging the film industry that they purport to represent. This is completely wrong and I will be seeking urgent reassurances that the Film Council will promote the interests of the film industry rather than its own from now on."
Mr Vaizey has spoken to Mr Woodward, who is currently on holiday, on the phone today and asked him to attend a meeting when he returns.
Earlier this month, more than 50 leading actors and actresses wrote to the Daily Telegraph opposing the move and last week it emerged an executive from Steven Spielberg's DreamWorks studio has written to Chancellor George Osborne in support of the council.
A UK Film Council spokesman said: "The future of the UK film industry is the only thing the UK Film Council is interested in. We will continue to do everything we can to reassure people that any change to us will not affect the UK's film offer to the world."