HC Deb 26 March 1990 vol 170 c14
65. Mr. Robert G. Hughes

To ask the Minister for the Arts what representations he has received since his statement on the Wilding report; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Luce

I welcome the general support for my statement on the Wilding report.

Mr. Hughes

Does my right hon. Friend agree that his statement has been widely welcomed in the arts world, because it redefines what everyone knows should have been the case—that the Arts Council lays down the strategy, but most of the work and grant-giving should be done in the regions where people know what is going on and where the excellence is?

Mr. Luce

I am grateful to my hon. Friend. I am glad that there has been strong support for that decision. As he implies, we should not underestimate the continuing important role of the Arts Council in devising an overall strategy for arts in the United Kingdom and for specific responsibilities, such as innovation, touring and a number of important matters. Its role and its accountability in partnership with regional arts boards will be important.

Dr. Kim Howells

Does the Minister recognise that the Wilding report has nevertheless generated much worry, especially in craft circles, that the Crafts Council will be merged with the Arts Council in a way that will be detrimental to the specific nature of the pursuits of craftspeople?

Mr. Luce

When making the announcement about the Wilding report, I made it clear that the Crafts Council will retain its independence. However, to ensure that we do not have duplication of resources, and to benefit craftspeople as much as possible I am asking the regional arts boards and craft units to work closely with the Crafts Council in the years ahead.