HC Deb 03 December 1959 vol 614 cc1367-8
33. Dame Irene Ward

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will give the total expenditure by the Arts Council, excluding the central overhead expenditure on Covent Garden, on opera and ballet, and the percentage of such expenditure in London and the provinces, respectively, in the years 1950–51, 1951–52, 1952–53, 1953–54, 1954–55, 1955–56, 1956–57, 1957–58. 1958–59.

Sir E. Boyle

As the Answer is rather long and contains a number of figures I will, with permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Dame Irene Ward

As the figures disclose that the provinces are very unjustly treated vis-à-vis London, will my hon. Friend give an assurance that no fresh grant of money will be made to the Arts Council until both sides of the House of Commons have had the opportunity to debate the whole matter of the administration of the Arts Council in this respect, which I believe is a scandal?

Sir E. Boyle

I think that my hon. Friend should table that question on the Order Paper.

Following is the Answer:

Total London Scotland, Wales and the English Provinces
£ per cent. per cent.
1950–51 205,773 78 22
1951–52 288,362 69 31
1952–53 348,912 86 14
1953–54 408,796 71 29
1954–55 412,555 66 34
1955–56 431,886 66 34
1956–57 488,539 66 34
1957–58 552,324 74 26
1958–59 631,524 70 30

1. It is not feasible to deduct Covent Garden central overheads from the Arts Council grant as the latter represents a contribution to the net deficit on the whole Government undertaking and the overheads form part of Covent Garden's gross expenditure.

2. In the case of Covent Garden, the provincial element in the above percentages was arrived at by setting direct, identifiable touring expenditure against box office takings, and the London element was arrived at by subtracting this from the total Arts Council subsidy.

3. Any attempt to apportion central overheads between London and provincial activities would be entirely arbitrary and notional.