HC Deb 24 April 1969 vol 782 cc640-1
22. Mr. Barnett

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what grant the Arts Council has made to prevent the closure of Manchester Opera House.

Miss Jennie Lee

The practice of the Arts Council is to consider making a grant in such cases only when requested to do so, and the Manchester local authority has not asked for one.

Mr. Barnett

Does my right hon. Friend agree that it would be deplorable if the rumoured tranformation of the last Opera House in Manchester into a bingo hall were true? Will my right hon. Friend have some consultations with the Manchester authority and others in the area to ensure that that does not happen?

Miss Lee

I entirely agree with my hon. Friend. Indeed, the Secretary-General of the Arts Council has written to the Town Clerk reaffirming the Arts Council's view that it is of great importance that people in Manchester should continue to have the opportunity of enjoying the Royal Ballet, the Sadler's Wells Opera, the National Theatre, the Royal Shakespeare Company and other companies of real quality. For this reason, the Arts Council intends to continue subsidising these visits within the limits of its resources and to help in many other ways.