Thursday, June 10, 2010

Do we need the Department of Culture, Media and Sport?

At a time when the government is asking the country to rethink the very basics of what government does and where we can find savings, my thoughts turn to the size of government. We have more ministers today than when we ran a huge Empire, and there are proposals to cut the number of MPs, so perhaps we should also axe some government departments and ministers?

By far the most obvious department to break up is the Department of Culture, Media & Sport. There are some tasks where there's a clear role for government, particularly the Olympics but also encouraging sport in general (not just for health reasons but also as a means of cohesion). But why do we need a government department for culture?

The department didn't exist before 1992, when it was created as "National Heritage" and was renamed and expanded to its current role in 1997. Isn't it time to now look at abolishing it, scrapping its unnecessary functions and transferring the useful ones to existing government departments? Less government, fewer ministers, gains for the many (if not the few, sorry Jeremy Hunt!).

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