HC Deb 02 December 1991 vol 200 cc19-20
42. Mr. Bowis

To ask the Minister for the Civil Service how many civil servants have been seconded to arts organisations.

Mr. Renton

The Government are very ready to consider seconding civil servants to other areas where their experience can be of use. Details are not collected centrally, but I can tell my hon. Friend that I know of six such cases where civil servants have moved to arts organisations.

Mr. Bowis

Is my right hon. Friend aware that one of the jewels in our cultural crown, based in Battersea, is the Royal Academy of Dancing? It sets the standards and the syllabus for dance and ballet tuition throughout the world and in particular throughout the European Community. The Governments of France, Italy and Greece are financing bids by their own organisations to rival the academy. Will my right hon. Friend ascertain whether his Department can support the Royal Academy of Dancing in such a way as to ensure that British dance tuition standards remain at the top of the ladder in the European Community?

Mr. Renton

I congratulate my hon. Friend. He is a good friend of all the arts organisations in his constituency. I know of his interest in the Battersea arts centre and I am interested to hear what he said about the RAD.

On my hon. Friend's point about qualifications, that matter may fall under the provisions of the treaty of Rome on the free movement of persons and recognition of qualifications. If my hon. Friend cares to write to me about the matter, I shall gladly look into it in detail.

Mr. Tom Clarke

Can the Minister give the House any information about the number of Scottish civil servants who have been seconded to the Scottish Arts Council and, indeed, to the Scottish Film Council, given what we are hearing about the much-awaited renaissance of the Scottish as well as the British film industry?

Mr. Renton

If the hon. Gentleman had asked me about secondments to industry and commerce in Wales, I could have answered him because that is the subject of the next question. I am afraid that I cannot answer off the cuff his question about secondments in Scotland, but if he cares to write to me in detail, I shall be pleased to find out the answer for him.