HC Deb 05 March 1970 vol 797 cc603-4
13. Mr. Wright

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what progress has been made by the Arts Council and other relevant bodies in the proposed collaboration to produce a more complete picture of overall support for the arts than at present exists.

Miss Jennie Lee

The Institute of Municipal Entertainment expects to publish this summer a survey of municipal support for entertainment in the financial year 1968–69. This should provide extremely valuable information about local authorities' support for the arts. The Arts Council is also working with the regional arts associations in building up a picture of support for the arts in the regions.

Mr. Wright

Does not the right hon. Lady appreciate that the first part of her reply did not bear on my Question? Is it not a fact that the Arts Council recommended this study? Why is there so much delay?

Miss Lee

This study is in fact being made. The Arts Council is giving close thought to the best machinery for obtaining and keeping up to date comprehensive information. We have already had a valuable survey published by "Arts in the South". The Arts Council also had its survey on support for ballet, opera and drama and a survey of concert audiences. So a great deal is being done, although much more needs to be done.

Mrs. Renée Short

Is my right hon. Friend aware that there is far too little support for the arts by local authorities, trade unions and industry generally? Is she aware of the serious situation facing the Welsh National Theatre? In Wales there are proposals to build a new theatre and the existing theatre company is held back in the development of an audience for that theatre simply because it has not received enough support from local authorities.

Miss Lee

I would be very happy if the support coming from the central Government for the arts was matched by that from local authorities and private patrons, but I remind my hon. Friend that we are living in a permissive society.

Mr. Channon

Does not the right hon. Lady realise that the recommendation by the sub-committee presided over by her hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton, North-East (Mrs. Renée Short) for this study to be set up was made a long time ago? It was accepted by the Arts Council. Could we not know the whole picture of private and public patronage and have the report which has been promised?

Miss Lee

I am sure that everything said on this Question will be taken note of by my Department and by the Arts Council. This is a very wide field and a great deal of work is done in it.

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