HC Deb 12 July 1993 vol 228 cc660-1
13. Mr. Hall

To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what plans he has to meet representatives of theatre in education to discuss funding.

Mr. Sproat

theatre in education companies have traditionally been funded by local education authorities together with the Arts Councils and regional arts boards. Any discussions on funding are most appropriately undertaken with those agencies.

Mr. Hall

The Minister will be aware, from the question put some moments ago by my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Erdington (Mr. Corbett), that theatre in education companies are under threat. Some theatres have closed and others are facing closure because they have lost revenue, because of council tax capping placed by the Government on local authority spending, because of the lack of money that is available through the local management of schools and because of the threatened cuts in Arts Council grants.

The Minister should recognise that theatre in education provides a unique dimension to education in many thousands of schools throughout the country. Does he agree that the shortfalls—amounting to £1 million—should be met by the Government? Will he instigate a full public inquiry into the funding of theatre in education for the years to come?

Mr. Sproat

No to the hon. Gentleman's last question, no to his second last and yes to his third. I agree that theatre in education can make an important contribution to schools, but those involved now must realise that they must sell themselves to individual schools because of the local management of schools process. If they do that, and if individual schools want to have theatre in education, the projects will continue.