HC Deb 07 March 1988 vol 129 cc13-4
51. Mr. Greg Knight

To ask the Minister for the Arts what central Government funding has been and will be given to the British Film and Television School in the period 1985–86 to 1990–91.

Mr. Luce

I provided £3,347,000 over the three years 1985 to 1988. I plan to allocate £4,950,000 over the three years 1988 to 1991, which I hope will be matched, or more than matched, by contributions from the industries.

Mr. Knight

Is my right hon. Friend aware that most people associated with the film industry will warmly welcome the increases that he has announced? Do the video and advertising industries, which make full use of the graduates from the school, contribute to its running costs? Many of us think that if they do not, they should.

Mr. Luce

My hon. Friend has a point. They do not contribute at present, but I hope that they will respond to the substantial increase in Government support over the next three years by starting to give their own support. My hon. Friend might like to know that I have injected £300,000 of incentive funding for the school. I hope that that can be used to encourage such industries to join in.

Mr. Fisher

Is the Minister aware that other countries treat their film schools a great deal more seriously and put in a great deal more investment? The Paris and Berlin film schools, which have costs comparable to ours, receive twice as much central Government investment per student. Is it not time that the Government started recognising the enormous cultural and economic importance of the film industry and began investing in it?

Mr. Luce

The issues on which the hon. Gentleman tends to intervene never cease to amaze me. I have increased the amount of funding for the school by 42 per cent. in the coming financial year, and by 50 per cent. over three years. That is a strong indication of the importance that I attach to the school. It already has a high international reputation, and it is right that its financing should be based on joint funding between the Government and the television and other industries.