HC Deb 05 March 1970 vol 797 cc604-5
14. Miss Harvie Anderson

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he will take steps to enable the Scottish Opera to have a special grant in the same way as arranged for the Royal Opera.

Miss Jennie Lee

The Arts Council, in assessing its grant to the Scottish Arts Council, takes into account the needs of Scottish Opera and other Scottish national enterprises. The Scottish Arts Council's grant has risen since 1963–64 by over 400 per cent. The grant to Scottish Opera has risen from £4,500 in 1963–64 to £125,000 in the current year. The increase in the Scottish Arts Council's grants would of course not have been so spectacular had full account not been taken of the needs of Scottish Opera.

Miss Anderson

Does not the right hon. Lady agree that Scottish Opera has lost a substantial sum which it previously obtained from television? Does not its tremendous success and very high standard make it possible for it to compete in the international market? Could it not be treated as a national Scottish institution such as the Scottish National Gallery?

Miss Lee

I share the hon. Lady's admiration for the Scottish Opera Company, but the Government are priming the pump and setting a good example. The increase in grant from £4,500 to £125,000 is quite something. Unfortunately, Scottish industry—I am thinking of trade unions and the whole range—and private patrons are not responding as they should.

Mr. Maclennan

Can my right hon. Friend say when Scottish Opera will have a home in Scotland worthy of it? Is this project held back by the philistinism of the Conservative Corporation of Edinburgh?

Miss Lee

The home of Scottish Opera must be decided by the Scottish Arts Council. We gave Scotland and Wales independence in this matter and, instead of giving them committees, we gave them councils. I think the House will agree that both Scotland and Wales have had their grants substantially increased, but we must leave it to Scotland and Wales to decide their priorities when allocating money.

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