The five national arts companies in Scotland are now funded directly by the Edinburgh government. The five are National Theatre of Scotland, Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO), Scottish Ballet, Scottish Chamber Orchestra (SCO) and Scottish Opera. They performed to nearly half a million people last year. Not bad in a nation of five million.
A report this morning says their finances are in good shape, too.
England should do the same. For a decade and more I have urged the Big Four – Covent Garden, ENO, National Theatre and Royal Shakespeare – do demand direct funding from the Culture Department (DCMS) and break free of the sagging Arts Council.
Most directors would dearly love to do so, but English politicians like Lazy Hunt-Vaizey are desperate to keep the Arts Council going as a fig-leaf for their errors and they fear that stripping ACE of its main customers would be a fatal blow.
The break-up will happen, though, and sooner rather than later.
ACE, by the way, has still not filed its annual accounts. They are almost two months late. Send in the bailiffs.