HC Deb 25 January 1962 vol 652 c399
28. Mr. Jeger

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what information he has received from the Arts Council as to the way in which they propose to spend the extra £150,000 allocated for provincial theatres; and whether any assurance has been given that existing aid being given by the Arts Council will not be curtailed.

Mr. Brooke

The Arts Council has informed me of the broad lines of its proposals. The detailed allocation must be a matter for it; I have not sought nor received any assurance of the kind mentioned.

Mr. Jeger

Is not the Chief Secretary aware of the widespread belief that the Arts Council is now withholding support from small organisations such as the Caryl Jenner Mobile Touring Theatrical Company which has been doing very good work in the provinces and in towns where no theatres exist? Will he draw the attention of the Arts Council to the terms of its Charter which prohibits that sort of activity?

Mr. Brooke

We must leave these individual allocations to the discretion of the Arts Council. There may be circumstances in which the Arts Council, exercising that discretion, thinks fit to reduce the level of support given to some particular organisation. I am sure that it would never do that except after the most careful consideration.

Mr. Denis Howell

Will the Chief Secretary bear in mind that the taxpayers in the provinces pay taxes which go towards the upkeep of the Arts Council, and are therefore just as much entitled to a return on the taxes they pay as are the people who reside in London?

Mr. Brooke

That consideration is present in my mind, and also, I believe, in the minds of the members of the Arts Council.