Clint Eastwood has a formidable foe in his sights, the British government. Last week, he fired off a letter to George Osborne, Britain's chancellor of the exchequer (analogous to the U.S. secretary of the treasury) appealing to him to reverse the decision to shut down the U.K. Film Council as part of a cost-cutting move by the government. "The prospect of losing a valuable resource such as the UKFC is of great concern to us," he said in the letter. Referring to his own recent production of Hereafter , starring Matt Damon, Eastwood wrote, "The UKFC was instrumental in providing us the crucial, detailed information we needed to make our decision to ultimately shoot in the U.K." He warned that if the UKFC is disbanded, some filmmakers, including himself, might not return to Britain to produce films. Late today (Monday), however, British Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt fired back. "If we are going to face budget cuts I have a duty to ensure that taxpayers' money is spent where it gets the most bang for its buck," he said. "It is simply not acceptable in these times to fund an organization like the U.K .Film Council, where no fewer than eight of the top executives are paid more than £100,000 ($150,000)." And Arts Secretary Ed Vaizey told Daily Variety , "Just because we've announced the abolishment of the Film Council doesn't mean we're abolishing the U.K. film industry. We have an absolute commitment to the tax credit."