HC Deb 22 October 1984 vol 65 cc431-2
26. Mr. Jessel

asked the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State answering in respect of the Arts what recent discussions the Government have had in connection with European Music Year 1985.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Environment (Mr. William Waldegrave)

My right hon. and noble Friend has had discussions recently both with Mr. John Manduell, the deputy chairman of the United Kingdom committee for European Music Year, and with Sir William Rees-Mogg, the chairman of the Arts Council.

Mr. Jessel

As European Music Year 1985 has now begun to take off with 1,000 approved projects in 23 countries, will the Government emphasise that it is intended largely to awaken interest in music among young people? Will the Government stress its educational aspects, and will my hon. Friend consider referring to that at the forthcoming press conference that he is to hold with the Duke of Kent on 6 December?

Mr. Waldegrave

The answer to the last part of the question is yes. I pay tribute to my hon. Friend for his contribution to the council of this major and exciting enterprise. In answer to the first part of his question, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education and Science tells me that his Department will send out a circular letter in due course which will emphasise the importance of the year to schools.

Mr. Meadowcroft

Will the Parliamentary Under-Secretary bear in mind that much of the good work done in schools to encourage music-making ends when pupils leave school because they do not have access to instruments or ensembles in which to play? Will he use the opportunity of this special year to encourage the continuity of music-making across the bridge from school to adult life?

Mr. Waldegrave

The hon. Gentleman makes a good point, which I shall certainly draw to the attention of my right hon. and noble Friend.

Mr. Blackburn

In connection with the European Music Year, will my hon. Friend pay tribute to the amount of sponsorship from the private sector? Will he formally announce that sponsorship for the arts is running at £14 million, which is a record and should be encouraged?

Mr. Waldegrave

I am happy to recognise that major contribution, in particular for this year. Projects under the European Music Year are eligible for the new pound for pound matching scheme which my right hon. and noble Friend recently announced. My hon. Friend was right to pay tribute to the private sector.

Mr. Buchan

Will the Minister bear in mind that Handel is one of the musicians to be honoured next year? Will he explain why the Arts Council has agreed to extend the grant to the Handel Opera for next year but will wipe it out the year after? What sort of celebration is that?

Mr. Waldegrave

As the hon. Gentleman knows, how the Arts Council spends its money is a matter for it. The Arts Council and the Opera must discuss that.

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