HC Deb 26 May 1966 vol 729 cc707-8
27. Mr. Blenkinsop

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what progress is being made in establishing regional associations of local authorities and industry for the support of the arts.

The Joint Under-Secretary of State for Education and Science (Miss Jennie Lee)

The North-Eastern Association for the Arts, which my hon. Friend did so much to promote, and the Lincolnshire Association go on from strength to strength and enjoy considerable support from both local authorities and industry. There is also a South-West Arts Association and a Midlands Arts Association; a further eight are in various stages of development.

Mr. Blenkinsop

Would my hon. Friend agree to take some further positive action to encourage developments of this sort, as it seems a sensible way of trying to get more active co-operation between local authorities and industry in this respect?

Miss Lee

I entirely agree. In this respect, we leave the initiative to come a great deal from the local communities, because we feel that when the initiative comes from their end something genuine develops, and that this is preferable to artificial stimulus from the centre.

Mr. Kershaw

Does the hon. Lady realise the damage which the arts have suffered from the Selective Employment Tax, and is she not ashamed?

Miss Lee

I am afraid that the hon. Gentleman has been misinformed.