HC Deb 16 July 1984 vol 64 c18
28. Mr. Proctor

asked the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State answering in respect of the Arts what was the average public subsidy for each ticket sold for performances of opera and ballet in the United Kingdom in each of the last three years; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Waldegrave

Figures from the Arts Council for the years 1980–81 to 1982–83 are £14.7, £15 and £19 for opera, and £4.9, £6.1 and £6.5 for dance. Decisions about individual levels of subsidy are of course for the Arts Council, and not my noble Friend.

Mr. Proctor

As one who opposes the subsidising of any goods or services, may I ask my hon. Friend to tell the House what the logic is of subsidising the rich in that way?

Mr. Waldegrave

I believe that it is well understood in the House that it is impossible to maintain a major opera company without public subsidy. I hope my hon. Friend will welcome the fact that the new policy of the opera house is to make up to 40 per cent. of its tickets available at lower prices than in the past.

Mr. Jim Callaghan

Is it the Government's intention to subsidise the Duccio "Crucifixion", which Manchester is trying to keep in this country?

Mr. Waldegrave

My noble Friend has today announced an extension of a month in the stop order on the picture attributed to Duccio, but it is for the national heritage memorial fund to decide whether to make further funds available.