HC Deb 14 April 1986 vol 95 cc572-4
35. Mr. Alan Howarth

asked the Minister for the Arts what assessment he has made of the implications for sponsorship of the arts of the provisions in the Budget relating to charitable giving.

The Minister for the Arts (Mr. Richard Luce)

I believe that sponsorship should increase significantly because businesses will now be able to make one-off donations, including the support of capital projects.

Mr. Howarth

Does my right hon. Friend agree that the Government's achievement in increasing spending on the arts by some 10 per cent. in real terms since 1979 has stimulated demand for additional expenditure? Does he also agree that additional funding for the arts should come from a variety of sources and that through the incentives in the Budget for charitable giving the Government are fulfilling their duty to provide a sound framework for a worthwhile encouragement for support of the arts?

Mr. Luce

I agree with my hon. Friend. In addition to the basic funding that the Government provide, we must look to the private sector to help fuel the expansion of the arts. There is an increasing demand for arts activities. My hon. Friend is right to say that the relief provided in the Budget will be a strong encouragement to arts bodies to raise extra funds.

Mr. Cormack

Did my right hon. Friend see the all-party motion supporting the new measures introduced in the Budget? Is he aware that there is still some doubt as to what these mean? Does he have it in mind to produce some easy to understand document that can be distributed?

Mr. Luce

I welcome the all-party support for the Budget changes. As to getting the information across, there still has to be the debate in the Finance Committee. We have strong views as to how we can educate businesses in the possibilities of giving and persuade arts bodies to become more professional in getting their case across. Hon. Members can do a great deal to help.

Mr. Buchan

The Minister is reverting to the proposition that he will rely on private sponsorship and similar means to bring about expansion, and not provide public funding. Given the background of cuts—some £19 million was lost by the abolition of the GLC and the metropolitan counties that has not been refunded—are we not looking at a standstill in public funding and relying on private funding, which will lead to a decline?

Mr. Luce

The hon. Gentleman is wrong. The worst forecasts about disaster in the arts have been proved to be wrong and things are going well for arts organisations. As to the Government's policy, we are committed to keeping up our support for the arts. However, for expansion and growth there should be a partnership between the Government, local authorities and the private sector, and the private sector can play an even more prominent role than it does.

36. Mr. Greenway

asked the Minister for the Arts if he will estimate the amount of money by which the arts will benefit as a result of the Budget; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Luce

That depends entirely on the energy of the arts bodies and the generosity with which people respond to the new opportunities. The Association for Business Sponsorship of the Arts has estimated that the additional figure might be £10 million. I believe that this could be much more.

Mr. Greenway

Is not the sky the limit for the arts as a result of the Budget, and should not arts bodies be aiming for £50 million at least? Is it not urgent for my right hon. Friend to set up the advisory body that he has already mentioned to instruct and assist arts bodies in promoting themselves, whatever they are doing, in a way that brings in money?

Mr. Luce

The arts bodies must be encouraged to be as competitive and professional as possible in getting across the activities that they have to sell to the public and to persuade businesses to fund them. We shall do all that we can to help them in that process. The scope is enormous and the extent to which we succeed in raising extra money depends upon the professionalism and enthusiasm of arts bodies in Britain.

Mr. Dormand

How much importance does the right hon. Gentleman place on the appreciation of film in the arts? In view of the devastating legislation which the Government have carried in this Parliament against the film industry, will he give an assurance that he will do all that he can to make public money available for the appreciation of film, particularly as Britain is now producing some of the best films in the world?

Mr. Luce

As the hon. Gentleman must know, the Government already give over £9 million to the British Film Institute, which is considerable support on the part of the taxpayer and is of great encouragement to the film industry. Indeed, in the hon. Gentleman's area in Tyne and Wear support for the film industry is strong.

Mr. Dalyell

The Minister referred to his strong views on private funding. Will he tell us exactly what those views are?

Mr. Luce

I thought that I had made them plain, but I am delighted to have another opportunity. The private sector can play an increasingly important role in helping arts bodies in addition to the basic funding provided by the taxpayer, and, indeed, by the ratepayer and local authorities. The changes provided for in the Budget will give every encouragement to that. With the Government's sponsorship incentive scheme we have a wide range of incentives to increase support from the private sector.

37. Mr. Jessel

asked the Minister for the Arts what effects he expects the 1986 Budget proposals to have upon the arts.

Mr. Luce

The effect will be to strengthen the prospects for widening the sources of funding for all arts bodies.

Mr. Jessel

Does my right hon. Friend agree that the £100 give-as-you-earn scheme provides an important opportunity for the arts to obtain more funds, but, as the arts will be competing with other charities, will there not be a need for a great deal of local promotion, locally organised with great vigour?

Mr. Luce

I agree entirely with my hon. Friend, and this is where hon. Members can do a great deal to help in their constituencies in encouraging support for the arts in that way. My hon. Friend is right to draw attention, in addition to the incentives provided for corporations to give, to the incentives which will be introduced from 1 April next year to provide for payroll giving to charitable bodies. My right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer plans to introduce a consultation document on that, but the sooner we start educating the public in the possibilities the better.

Mr. Meadowcroft

I welcome the taxation incentives for charities and artistic organisations, but is the Minister aware of another anomaly, in that if anything is published in a brochure which at all looks like an advertisement it is liable to VAT, and that inhibits the amount of publicity that could be given to a sponsoring organisation? Will the right hon. Gentleman look at that anomaly?

Mr. Luce

I shall look at that, but I cannot promise any change.

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