Publisher plans council court bid

THE owner of a Sawtry-based publisher is planning a group legal action against the Arts Council after it confirmed his funding had been cut. Eric Lane, owner of Dedalus, said on Monday that he would take the Arts Council to court over his lost £20,000 ann

THE owner of a Sawtry-based publisher is planning a group legal action against the Arts Council after it confirmed his funding had been cut.

Eric Lane, owner of Dedalus, said on Monday that he would take the Arts Council to court over his lost £20,000 annual grant.

And he is hoping to get the other 180 organisations that lost their funding to join him.

"The cost of a judicial review would be about £40,000 but some of these people have lost £200,000 a year, so I don't think funding will be a problem," he told The Hunts Post. "I will be fundraising, seeking support and putting on events."


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Mr Lane said he wanted to challenge the Arts Council over procedure. He said he had been told in December that his money could be cut and had lost his grant in January.

"The Arts Council has not followed its own disinvestment procedures. If we win, that means they will have to start the procedure all over again and we will have to have our grants restored in the meantime."

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Mr Lane said Dedalus was the only publisher in the country to lose its grant. Two others, he said, had been threatened with cuts but in the event their money had been increased.

He also claimed that, as Dedalus had been the only publisher in the East of England to receive a grant, the region's publishers were now devoid of any Arts Council cash.

However, an Arts Council spokesman refuted all Mr Lane's concerns, saying funded bodies were written to in May 2007 and told about the process.

She added that Dedalus was not the only publisher in the country to be cut and that it was not the only Arts Council-funded publisher in the East of England.

"Dedalus was informed of our future funding intentions on December 13 and our letter included clear reasons for that proposal.

"We have urged Dedalus to take independent legal advice and we will strongly defend our position should it come to court. The review of regular funding is a fair process that is fully compliant with our disinvestment policy."

Dedalus, which began publishing in 1983, is mainly a fiction publisher. The company consists of Mr Lane and his wife, Marie, who works part-time.

The Dedalus list includes contemporary English language fiction and translated European fiction, as well as non-fiction in the Dark Master, City Noir and Concept Book series.

The publisher's first list consisted of three first novels, one of which, The Arabian Nightmare, by Robert Irwin, has been translated into 15 languages.

Mr Lane said Dedalus would now either have to cut down on translations or find funding from another source.

In a statement, the Arts Council said it was investing £32million across the East of England between now and 2011.

It said that over 64 per cent of arts organisations in the East would receive increases in funding, among them the Norfolk and Norwich Festival, Luton Carnival and Bedford Creative Arts. In Cambridge, increased funding goes to the Junction, Britten Sinfonia, Kettle's Yard, Hoipolloi and Wysing Arts Centre.

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