HC Deb 07 December 1967 vol 755 cc1637-8
1. Mr. Carter-Jones

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will withdraw Government financial aid to the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, unless the administrators improve the method of ticket allocation to ensure a fairer distribution.

The Minister of State, Department of Education and Science (Miss Jennie Lee)

I am very anxious to have the fairest possible system of ticket distribution; I have discussed the matter with the trustees on several occasions and am about to do so again.

Mr. Carter-Jones

I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for that Answer and for the fact that she is now to investigate. I hope that she has more luck than I have had. Is she aware that trying to get information from Covent Garden is like trying to grapple with a jelly and that one cannot get any information at all? For example, an answer which I got boasted of the fact that a high proportion of those who had applied for tickets had got a seat. This was regarded as being something to boast about and the answer went on to say——

Mr. Speaker

Order. Questions must he brief.

Mr. Carter-Jones

Is my right hon. Friend aware that, despite what the Opera House says, only a small proportion of those who applied in fact got tickets?

Miss Lee

I know that there is a difficult problem. I had the figures analysed And found that for the recent "Ring" performance, for instance, 68 per cent. of the seats went to London and the Home Counties. I sympathise with people who live in other parts of the country, but this is not an easy matter, because every time we ask the Covent Garden trustees whether they can make reallocation, they ask whether we are to give them more money.