§ 16. Mr. Tony Banks
To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what progress he is making in raising private funds for support of heritage and the arts.
§ Mr. Brooke
There has been a remarkable increase in private sector support for the arts, from less than £600,000 in 1976 to more than £65 million last year. Our business sponsorship incentive scheme has itself attracted almost £40 million since its inception in 1984. English Heritage is also making good progress in promoting private sector funding.
§ Mr. Banks
Will the Secretary of State acknowledge that the effect of the recession is such that many companies now find themselves unable to put into arts and heritage the money that they previously put in, and will he look into this? As he was clearly not over-enthusiastic about my idea of raising money through sponsorship of the royal family, will he look carefully at the recent suggestion by one of the timeshare experts that up to £100 million could be raised by using one of the royal palaces for timeshare? If he is looking for extra money, Trusthouse Forte and Holiday Inns would probably be interested in buying one of the palaces, which are clearly not all necessary.
§ Mr. Brooke
The first half of the hon. Gentleman's question was obviously serious. As a result of the spread of sponsors and the fact that smaller companies are now sponsoring arts and heritage, the amount of sponsorship continues to rise even though, as he rightly says, some larger companies have had to drop out because of the recession. As to the second half of his question, he does not seem discouraged by my reaction to his previous suggestion. As I said then, I am delighted to see that he is continuing to do research.