HC Deb 11 April 1968 vol 762 c1573
26. Sir Knox Cunningham

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he has considered the information which has been sent to him by the hon. Member for Antrim, South, on the matter of grants from public funds by the Arts Council; and what action he proses to take.

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

I have seen the newspaper article which the hon. and learned Gentleman has sent me. Some of the statements are not correct, but whether grants are made is entirely a matter for the Arts Council.

Sir Knox Cunningham

If the Daily Mail is correct in the example it gives—and I have no reason to think otherwise—is it not scandalous that £1,800 of public money should be used to subsidise a magazine so squalid that W. H. Smith and Company will not sell it?

Miss Lee

I have said that some of the information in the article is inaccurate. It would be most improper for us to go into this matter in detail here, but we are very fortunate in having an Arts Council which says in its report that mistakes are inevitable but that it would be a counsel of despair not to go on with its job. I am not taking as accurate anything that has appeared in this article.

Dr. Gray

Will my right hon. Friend look again at the possibility of making it a condition of giving Government grants to dramatic companies that those companies undertake a certain amount of provincial touring?

Miss Lee

I can assure my hon. Friend that our great companies are very eager to do this, and as far as is possible with the money at our disposal we want to do everything we can to see that the regions have as many visits as possible paid to them by the large companies.