The 1990s: Lottery funding and the DCMS
In 1992, the Government created the Department for National Heritage, and the Arts Council was incorporated. This was followed by the 1993 Lottery Act, which gave arts funding a new boost. When the National Lottery was launched in 1994, 28 pence from every pound was paid into the National Lottery Distribution Fund (NLDF), from where the money was divided into five good causes: arts, charities, heritage, millennium projects and sport.
In 1997, the Government created a new senior ministry: the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). While this move elevated the importance the new government placed on the arts and the broader cultural industries, the Arts Council's funding was slashed.
To get extra money for the arts, Chris Smith, then culture secretary, argued in terms of education. The arts could provide educational experiences that schools lacked the time and resources to deliver. This meant the new DCMS was treated like an ordinary government department, delivering services that could be monitored by performance measures. Size and ethnic make-up of audiences were measurable, but led to criticisms of 'dumbing down'. However, increasing access and participation have always been key to the Arts Council's work.