§ 29. Mr. Willey
asked the Parliamentary Secretary for Science, as representing the Lord President of the Council, what decision he has made regarding special support for the North Eastern Association of the Arts.
§ 30. Mr. Boyden
asked the Parliamentary Secretary for Science, as representing the Lord President of the Council, what special contribution he is making to the North-Eastern Association for the Arts; and when it will be made.
§ The Parliamentary Secretary for Science (Mr. Denzil Freeth)
The Association's request for extra funds is one of the many matters being studied by the Government in the light of my noble Friend's report.
§ Mr. Willey
Will the Parliamentary Secretary say whether this is seriously considered? Does he realise that the Arts Council could do far more to help in the provinces and that this Association should receive every help from the Arts Council, for it is doing excellent work in the North-East, and this is an important matter?
§ Mr. Freeth
This matter is being seriously considered. It is for the Arts Council, of course, to apportion its funds, but I think it worth while drawing the attention of the hon. Member to the fact that the Council already spends £50,000 a year in the North-East.
§ Mr. Boyden
Would the hon. Gentleman give consideration to matching local 1044 authority grants with an equal grant from the Government? Is he aware of the excellent response there has been from all local authorities in the North-East and that this would be a very good way of encouraging them still further?
§ Mr. Bourne-Arton
Will my hon. Friend bear in mind that I am awaiting with interest and hope the reply to representations I have made in this matter? Can he say what the total support which the Arts Council gives in the region is and not only to our Association?
§ Mr. Freeth
With regard to the Association, the Arts Council is at present donating about £10,000. That is to the Association. In addition, as I have said, it already spends about £50,000 a year in the North-East. I am told that a month or two ago the Council agreed in principle to take on an additional commitment, to the tune of about £5,000 a year for three years, as a share in the Flora Robson Playhouse in Newcastle.