HC Deb 06 March 1969 vol 779 cc652-3
13. Mr. Strauss

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether, in view of the decision on economy grounds of the Greater London Council not to hold this year the triennial open-air sculpture exhibition, he will offer a contribution to enable this event to take place.

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

Whether the exhibition is held this year is a matter for the Greater London Council, and, so far as I am aware, the Council has not applied to any other body for financial assistance to this end.

Mr. Strauss

Is my right hon. Friend aware that these open-air sculpture exhibitions have been held triennially for the last 21 years despite any economic crises that may have occurred during that time? Since this is an important and popular feature of London's artistic life which encourages British sculptors and is a great attraction to foreign visitors, and in view of the small sum involved, will my right hon. Friend press the G.L.C. to reconsider this mean and petty decision?

Miss Lee

I am aware of the regularity with which these exhibitions have been held over the years, and I seem to recall attending the very first one, in the company of my right hon. Friend the Member for Vauxhall (Mr. Strauss). I, too, would be sorry if they were not continued. The Government do not impose restrictions on this type of local authority expenditure—I want that to be clear—and it is, therefore, for the local authorities themselves to decide their priorities, bearing in mind the funds available.