HC Deb 15 December 1986 vol 107 cc774-6
48. Mr. Pavitt

asked the Minister for the Arts if he will now take further initiatives to ensure adequate funds to retain Sadler's Wells theatre for the fiscal year 1987–88.

The Minister for the Arts (Mr. Richard Luce)

The problems of Sadler's Wells have been satisfactorily solved in the current year by a combination of sponsorship and grants to Arts Council clients using the theatre. It is for the Arts Council and the other bodies to determine funding levels for subsequent years.

Mr. Pavitt

Although I am grateful to the Minister for his staving-off operation for 12 months, he has missed the purpose of the question, which concerned fresh initiatives for the longer term. He has informed the House of the initiatives that he announced some little while ago. Those see Sadler's Wells clear for 12 months. However, one cannot plan for opera, ballet and the sort of thing that that company does in a 12-month period, because there are ongoing commitments. Will the Minister now take fresh initiatives so that Sadler's Wells can plan for the future, and not first the present year, which is safeguarded?

Mr. Luce

The hon. Gentleman continues to take a keen interest in this subject. There was major new sponsorship this financial year from the Digital Equipment Company, which covered not just this financial year but next year. In addition, the Arts Council must decide how much it can allocate to the companies which use Sadler's Wells, because it is those companies which are being supported by the Government. The Arts Council must decide that, although I give it indicative figures which look to two to three years ahead.

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