HC Deb 12 March 1970 vol 797 cc1554-5
Q1. Mr. Ogden

asked the Prime Minister if he will give an assurance that it will remain the policy of Her Majesty's Government to support cultural and artistic activities in the North-West and other regions of Great Britain.

The Prime Minister (Mr. Harold Wilson)

Yes, Sir.

Mr. Ogden

I thank my right hon. Friend for that answer. Is he aware that there is some concern that perhaps London is getting rather too great a share of the aid that is given in these matters? Is it his intention that living artists should receive more support than is possibly given to dead ones?

The Prime Minister

In the last five years much more has been done by way of developing Arts Council grants to the regions, although in London it has been necessary to provide substantial grants to keep alive certain orchestras which were in danger of going out of existence, and, of course, there is the Covent Garden grant. In the North-West Region the Arts Council is now making grants totalling more than £390,000, as against £112,564, an increase of 240 per cent. It is also making substantial capital grants, for projects amounting to £634,000, whereas no capital grants were given for the arts in 1964.

Mr. St. John-Stevas

Could not the right hon. Gentleman give a North-West party, rather like the excellent one he gave the other day at 10 Downing Street when he was kind enough to invite me and other hon. Members of the Opposition—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"]—and other representatives of the cultural world?

The Prime Minister

I recall that with pleasure. The hon. Gentleman was there, and it was described in the Press as a "trendy" party.