HC Deb 03 December 1959 vol 614 cc1361-2
23. Mr. Cordle

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he is aware that the National Symphony Orchestra, which receives a grant from the Arts Council, is in danger of losing many of its skilled musicians because of the low salaries it is obliged to pay; and whether he will now revise his previous policy and ear- mark a sufficient proportion of his grant in aid to the Arts Council for the assistance of this orchestra, in order that its present artistic standards may be maintained.

Sir E. Boyle

No, Sir. As I indicated in reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Tynemouth (Dame Irene Ward) on 26th November, my right hon. Friend is not prepared to earmark any proportion of the Arts Council's grant for any purpose whatever.

Mr. Cordle

While thanking the Financial Secretary for his reply, may I express the hope that financial aid for the national provincial symphony orchestras will be made available as soon as possible?

Sir E. Boyle

The policy has always been that the Arts Council shall have complete discretion in the distribution of its grants, but I can assure my hon. Friend, having heard the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra many years ago give one of the first performances of Walton's Violin Concerto, that I am well aware of its importance.