Monday 25 September 2017

Philanthropist Lloyd Dorfman warns cuts could hurt British culture

The philanthropist has cautioned against wounding the ‘big beasts’.

Lloyd Dorfman has warned against funding cuts (Matt Alexander/PA)
Lloyd Dorfman has warned against funding cuts (Matt Alexander/PA)

By Sherna Noah, Senior Entertainment Correspondent

One of Britain’s biggest philanthropists has warned against any further cuts to the “power houses” of UK culture.

Funding to the National Theatre, Southbank Centre, Royal Opera House and Royal Shakespeare Company have fallen as part of a new settlement from Arts Council England which boosts cash in the regions.

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The Royal Opera House, Southbank is having funding cut as a result of a new Arts Council settlement which will see more money go outside London (Nick Ansell/PA)

Entrepreneur and philanthropist Lloyd Dorfman, whose recent gifts have totalled around £10 million from his family foundation to the Royal Academy, Great Ormond Street Hospital, the Royal Opera House and others, said there is a need to “be careful” about slicing away more cash.

He added that philanthropists are “nervous” in the current period of uncertainty.

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Lloyd Dorfman is one of Britain’s biggest philanthropists (Lewis Whyld/PA)

Dorfman, whose recent substantial donation to the Royal Academy aimed to “put architects and architecture at the heart” of the institution, said: “The Arts Council said the four big ones can sustain this impact more easily than others, and yes that’s true.

“The organisations are getting better at growing their fundraising support, they’re becoming more commercial.

“But there’s only so far they can go. I think everyone has taken it on the chin and it’s great that the regions are getting increased support.

“But I would think governments should be careful not to wound the power houses of British and London culture by continuing to slice away at their financial support.

“Government need to be careful not to wound the big beasts too much.

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Mr Dorfman just made a donation to the Royal Academy (Nick Ansell/PA)

“Private philanthropy has been stepping up to the plate to some extent and that’s a great thing… but against a background of the current uncertainty, not helped with Brexit, individuals are nervous and organisations are nervous… So be careful what you do.”

The size of the gift to the Royal Academy from the philanthropist, who is the founder of the Travelex Group, was not revealed but it was described as a “seven-figure” sum.

The Royal Academy, best known for its Summer Exhibition, is undergoing redevelopment due for completion on its 250th anniversary in 2018.

It unveiled plans for a new architecture space as well as the launch of two international architecture awards.

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