HC Deb 24 July 1973 vol 860 cc1390-2
9. Mr. Iremonger

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if she will introduce legislation to enable grants made by the Arts Council to be subject to parliamentary approval and control.

Mr. St. John-Stevas

No, Sir. My noble Friend is satisfied with the present procedures for the grant-in-aid.

Mr. Iremonger

How am I to get some money for the Redbridge Youth Brass Band?

Mr. St. John-Stevas

Not from me, I am afraid, nor from the Arts Council, since the Arts Council does not make grants to individual local bands, brass or otherwise. Local authorities are able to make grants to students to attend the National Youth Brass Band courses, of which there are two a year, and many students do. I do not know whether the local authority represented by my hon. Friend makes grants, but that could be another source of income. About 100 youngsters a year attend each course. They obtain modest grants of about £5 and 1 believe that they are extremely profitable.

16. Mr. David Clark

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what has been the percentage change in the amount of money granted to the Arts Council since June 1970.

Mr. St. John-Stevas

Eighty-seven per cent. more.

Mr. Clark

Hon. Members will be pleased with the considerable increase in the amount of money granted to the Arts Council, but will the Minister draw to the attention of the Arts Council the importance of the brass band movement to culture in certain parts of this country and request it to give money either through the regional councils to individual brass bands or direct to the National Youth Brass Band?

Mr. St. John-Stevas

It is not my function to make such a request but I have been in correspondence with the Arts Council about this topic, in which the hon. Member has for a long time taken a keen personal interest. I am pleased to be able to say that I heard recently from the Chairman of the Arts Council that its music panel reacted encouragingly to general proposals from the bands' musical adviser and that the musical director of the Arts Council has written for costed, specific proposals that will enlarge its musical scope. Although the responsibility rests with the Arts Council, I am sanguine that the hon. Member's campaign will eventually have a happy outcome.

Mr. Robert Cooke

Is not this a classic example of the way in which popular art receives far greater emphasis under the present Government? Will my hon. Friend encourage this trend?

Mr. St. John-Stevas

I think that we need both popular and elite art.

Mr. Faulds

Does the junior Minister realise that it is well past time that his right hon. Friend increased Arts Council funding specifically to deal with the great needs of housing the museums, as recommended by the latest report which, apparently, the Paymaster-General has peremptorily dismissed, and housing music throughout these islands?

Mr. St. John-Stevas

I think that the junior Shadow, if there be such a creature, has not studied his Order Paper, because there is a later Question on this subject in his own name.