§ 32. Mr. Alfred Morris
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what representations he has received from the North-West Regional Economic Planning Council concerning financial 618 assistance and national status for art galleries in the region; what replies he has sent; and if he will make a statement.
I have received a letter from the Economic Planning Council for the North-West Region which refers to the prospects of financial assistance from the Government for the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, as well as to other matters affecting the Arts in the North-West. The Walker Gallery, like all other Regional and Municipal Galleries, does not qualify for an Arts Council grant and is not in receipt of direct exchequer assistance. I have this whole field now under review, as I am concerned to ensure a fair distribution of public funds between London and regional activities in the promotion of the Arts generally.
§ Mr. Morris
I thank my hon. Friend for her reply. Would she agree that the Board's letter should have followed consultations with all the art galleries concerned, including Manchester? This appears not to have been done and has excited very strong feeling. Can she say anything about helping the arts more generally, for example, the Hallé Orchestra, in the Manchester area?
I cannot add to what I have said, that I am most concerned that there should be fair play between the regions and London and that this whole matter is now under review.