HC Deb 21 April 1959 vol 604 cc210-1
30. Mr. G. Jeger

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware of the high proportion of the revenue of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. which is absorbed in repairs and maintenance charges; and whether the Government will accept direct responsibility for the building, and so relieve the Opera House of this burden.

Mr. Amory

I understand that under 5 per cent. of Covent Garden expenditure in 1959-60 is expected to be on repairs and maintenance charges. In answer to the second part of the Question, I think the Arts Council is the proper channel for any Government assistance to Covent Garden.

Mr. Jeger

Does not the Chancellor realize—and he ought to realize it because it is printed in the last report of the Royal Opera House—that from year to year the Opera House has to defer necessary repairs and maintenance work because it cannot afford to get them done? Is it not deplorable that the building should be allowed to fall into decay and shabby dilapidation when the Ministry of Works should be responsible for keeping what is a national institution in a proper state of repair?

Mr. Amory

My information is that no essential maintenance has been postponed.