Though somewhat inevitable the news that the UK government have elected to cut their funding for the BFI’s new Film Centre on London’s South Bank is still depressing.

Previous PM Gordon Brown, perhaps knowing his number was up, announced that the government was to give £45m to the BFI to aid their building a 5 screen National Film Centre, which was to become a hub for film based exhibitions and research facilities. Today though the BFI put out this statement, coming after the news that the money would not be available,

We had anticipated that the government would not be able to afford investment in the BFI Film Centre at this time and knew that we would face a challenge on the project. We still remain committed to taking the BFI Film Centre forward.

We are concerned that film is bearing the brunt. Over 50 per cent of the DCMS cuts announced are coming from the film sector. Film is a critical component of Britain’s future cultural and economic prosperity and we welcome the Minister’s commitment to reviewing government’s support for the industry. Our one plea is that this is done as a matter of urgency.

Deadline and The Guardian have their take on this story, and none of it makes for cheery reading. Don’t get me wrong, in London we are spoiled for choice when it comes to the Arts, with the National Film Theatre on the bank of the Thames, alongside a wonderful range of galleries and theatres nearby, and the BFI are to pursue their Film Centre regardless, although it will now be a tougher fight.

We are constantly told that the recession is biting and we are all feeling consequences, and these cuts by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport are just are just one of a thousand cuts the country is facing, along with similar cutbacks across the world, my concern is that the Arts will be relegated to luxury status as opposed to a necessity. We’ll see how funding for the UK Film Council and lottery grants to smaller independent projects fare in the coming years, but now more than ever it is important to support the people who make these films, and such a difference to us all.