HC Deb 26 June 1958 vol 590 cc587-8
21. Dame Irene Ward

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he has yet received an interim report from the Bridges Committee on the Arts; and to what extent he proposes to act on its recommendations.

Mr. Simon

This Committee was appointed by the trustees of the Gulbenkian Foundation and it will report to them, not to my right hon. Friend. The second part of the hon. Lady's Question does not, therefore, arise.

Dame Irene Ward

Is my hon. and learned Friend aware that sometimes outside bodies have a little more experience, knowledge and guts than the Government? Will my hon. and learned Friend consider the recommendations that have been made in respect of opera, having regard to the fact that that well-loved provincial opera company, the Carl Rosa Opera Company, is being murdered in breach of contract? When will he take some action on behalf of the arts?

Mr. Simon

The first part of my hon. Friend's supplementary question is put in too general terms for me to express an opinion. With regard to the second part, naturally my right hon. Friend will be very interested to see the report of the Committee to which my hon. Friend refers if the Gulbenkian trustees decide to publish it or make it available to him. I do not think that it is proper for me to comment on the third part of the supplementary question.