HC Deb 09 April 1970 vol 799 cc733-4
21. Mr. Channon

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how much public money was spent by the Arts Council in 1969 on grants to individuals and what is the policy governing these grants.

Miss Jennie Lee

371 awards totalling £121,538 were made by the Arts Council to individual artists in 1969–70. In making individual awards the Arts Council has regard both to the past achievements of the artist concerned and his potential for the future. The figures I have given do not include grants made to individuals by the regional arts associations.

Mr. Channon

Does the right hon. Lady agree that £120,000 is now becoming a large sum? Will she urge the Arts Council to give as much publicity as possible to the criteria for making these awards, as there have been a number of cases which have created public anxiety?

Miss Lee

The amount represents 1.5 per cent. of the Arts Council's budget. I was impressed by a statement in the Report of the Estimates Committee in which it said that the performing arts stand on the shoulders of the individual writer or composer without whom they would have only a limited future". It is admittedly a difficult matter how to judge future hopes on past performance, but I should like to see more given to the creative writer. I take the point that we want the fullest publicity.