§ 30. Mr. Tony Banks
To ask the Minister for the Arts how many appointments he has personally approved since assuming his responsibilities as Minister for the Arts.
§ Mr. Mellor
Twelve, Sir. Seven were for the British Film Institute, including the reappointment of Sir Richard Attenborough as chairman. Four were for the Crafts Council. The other was for the British museum.
§ Mr. Banks
I am certain that the Minister has backed the winner in the leadership contest for the Conservative party. When the goodies are handed out, will he impress upon the new Prime Minister the need to have the Minister for the Arts in the Cabinet? The right hon. and learned Gentleman would enjoy that, and the arts world would benefit from it. Now that the lady has almost gone and we can talk freely among ourselves again, will he drop the absurd Thatcherite obsession with attacking local authorities? Will he make it clear that when he makes appointments to the regional arts boards he will keep up the number of local authority nominees?
§ Mr. Mellor
I had the winner yesterday afternoon. I hope that I have got the winner tomorrow as well. The status of the Minister for the Arts will be a matter for the new Prime Minister. As for appointments to the regional arts boards, I have had a number of constructive meetings with local authority representatives. Our wish is that there should be a strong local authority presence, nominated by local authorities, on the regional arts boards. The fact that one third of the places are reserved for local authorities is a sign of the importance that we attach to an arts funding partnership with the local authorities.
§ Mr. Jessel
As those appointed to arts bodies can make good use of the excellent increase in the funding obtained by my right hon. and learned Friend, may I, too, congratulate not only him but the whole of the Government team at the Treasury, led by my right hon. Friend the Member for Huntingdon (Mr. Major), the Chancellor of the Exchequer, because it is due partly to his support and firm encouragement that the arts are able to benefit in this way?
§ Mr. Fisher
On appointments, will the Minister confirm that every single regional arts association has written to him, protesting in the strongest possible terms against the proposal in his letter to the chairman of the Arts Council that he personally should appoint the chairs of the new regional arts boards? Does a single person or a single arts body support the Minister in this extraordinary centralist move? Will he withdraw it?
§ Mr. Mellor
The jury before which the proposals have to be judged is not composed of the regional associations as they are now constituted. We have to try to ensure, in accordance with various reports—including those of Committees of this House—that there is proper accountability for moneys that are spent. The money spent by the regional arts boards is overwhelmingly Treasury-obtained finance, although we also maintain a sense of regional ownership and the partnership with local authorities. The hon. Gentleman should await the deliberations of Tim Mason's committee, as I shall.
What is absolutely clear is that I will not shrink from establishing a framework that is, to my mind, consistent with ensuring that the bodies to be transferred—if, indeed, they are to be transferred; most do not want to be under the existing arrangements—can be reassured that the new structures will be strong enough to bear the weight of the evaluations needed for them. That is the important point. It has nothing to do with amour-propre and who appoints whom; it has to do with how we can best enhance the quality of artistic life in this country.
§ 31. Mr. Corbyn
To ask the Minister for the Arts if he will list all appointments made by him to arts bodies in the last year.
§ Mr. Corbyn
Does the Minister accept that much of this country's activity is ridiculously overcentralised and that it is time that we brought some democracy into arts appointments? Should not there be guaranteed places for local authority members appointed by their local authorities, rather than by the Minister? Does he further accept that the minority ethnic communities and user groups of arts centres and theatres should be able to appoint and elect people to arts authorities, rather than the Minister's sitting in splendid isolation in London deciding who should be the members of every regional arts authority?
§ Mr. Mellor
That prompts the large question, whether the quality of the people appointed in such a way would ultimately be any better. I am closer to the hon. Gentleman than he recognises. I have already proposed that one third of the membership of regional arts boards should be local authority representatives.
§ Mr. Mellor
Hang on a minute. I am coming to that. I got the point the first time, although I do not always.
We are asking the local authority associations to find a way of proposing a mechanism so that they can determine
|Institution||Position||Name of Appointee||Appointed|
|Advisory Committee on the Government Art Collection||Member||Mr. R. Shone||30 July 1990|
|Arts Council||Members||Ms. B. Anderson||1 April 1990|
|Mr. E. Hall||1 April 1990|
|Miss C. Mulholland||1 April 1990|
|Professor Sir Alan T. Peacock||1 April 1990|
|Sir Brian N. R. Rix||1 April 1990|
|Mr. A. Smith||1 April 1990|
|Professor C. St. John Wilson||1 April 1990|
|British Film Institute||Chairman||Sir Richard S. Attenborough||1 October 1990|
|Governors||Mrs. B. Anderson||1 October 1990|
|Mr. T. Clarke||1 October 1990|
|Ms. B. Ferris||1 October 1990|
|Ms. P. Hoon||1 October 1990|
|Mr. R. G. Hughes||1 October 1990|
|Mr. A. Sapper||1 October 1990|
|British Library Board||Chairman||Commander L. M. Saunders-Watson||19 March 1990|
|Members||The Lord Adrian||1 May 1990|
|Professor A. J. Forty||1 April 1990|
|Mr. D. A. E. R. Peake||1 July 1990|
|Mr. R. E. Utiger||1 May 1990|
|British Museum||Trustee||Professor C. Renfrew||19 October 1990|
|Crafts Council||Members||Mr. A. H. Doggart||11 October 1990|
|Mr. J. Jones||11 October 1990|
|Mr. J. Newton||11 October 1990|
|Professor D. Vaughan||11 October 1990|
|Greater Manchester Museum of Science and Industry||Chairman||Mr. A. Goldstone||27 January 1990|
|Library and Information Services Council||Members||Mr. S. A. Brewer||1 January 1990|
|Sir Charles Chadwyck-Healey Bart||1 January 1990|
|Councillor C. Heinitz||1 January 1990|
|Mr. C. J. Koster||1 January 1990|
|Mr. D. Leabeater||1 January 1990|
|Mrs. S. I. Martin||1 January 1990|
|National Museums and Galleries on Merseyside||Trustees||Professor G. J. Davies||1 January 1990|
|Mr. J. Entwistle||1 April 1990|
|Mr. A. Swerdlow||1 April 1990|
|Lady Vaizey||1 April 1990|
|Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art||Members||Mr. G. Jackson-Stops||1 August 1990|
|Dr. J. I. R. Montagu||1 August 1990|
|Mr. A. G. Reynolds||1 January 1990|
|South Bank Board||Chairman designate||Sir Brian Corby||11 June 1990|
|Theatres Trust||Chairman||Sir David L. Crouch||6 April 1990|
|Trustees||Mr. I. Albery||6 April 1990|
|Baroness Birk||6 April 1990|
|Mr. G. L. Harbottle||6 April 1990|
|Mr. R. M. Marshall||6 April 1990|