HC Deb 26 January 1956 vol 548 cc360-1
37. Mr. G. Jeger

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what are the terms of reference under which the Arts Council is to undertake a survey of the nation's needs in concert halls and theatres.

Mr. H. Brooke

This survey comes within the scope of the Arts Council as laid down by its Charter, and my right hon. Friend therefore does not think it necessary to give the Council formal terms of reference. There will be discussion with the Council from time to time on the manner in which the survey can best be conducted.

Mr. Jeger

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the Arts Council has already committed itself, in quite definite terms, to a policy of having as few theatres as possible? Will he impress upon the Council that it should not bring such preconceived ideas to its task?

Mr. Brooke

The Arts Council is a body set up with the consent, I think, of all parties in the House to handle these matters. It seems to me that as this matter lies within its terms of reference we should give the Council the opportunity of making a study of it and preparing a report.