HC Deb 23 May 1994 vol 244 cc4-5
5. Mr. John Marshall

To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what steps he is taking to encourage the private sponsorship of the arts.

Mr. Brooke

Support by business makes a major contribution to the arts economy. The Government's own business sponsorship incentive scheme has done much to encourage that welcome development, bringing in more than £73 million in new money to the arts since its inception in 1984. In recognition of the success of the BSIS and the importance of business sponsorship, the scheme's budget has been increased to £4.8 million for this and the next two years.

Mr. Marshall

Will my right hon. Friend congratulate Allied Lyons on its £3 million sponsorship of the Royal Shakespeare Company? Can he confirm that sponsorship by private companies is in addition to, rather than in place of, Government support?

Mr. Brooke

Of course I salute Allied Lyons on the support that it is rendering to the RSC, just as I salute British Telecom on its support for orchestras, KPMG on its support for opera and all the other sponsors throughout the country on their support for the arts.

Mr. Enright

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the preponderance of that investment is in the capital, London, and in Edinburgh? There is a dearth of funds in the provinces, which will lead to difficulties in bidding for lottery and millennium funds. Will he look in particular at the superb, world-class Breton Hall sculpture park, which is very deserving of support?

Mr. Brooke

The hon. Gentleman knows that members of my family were born on the land where that sculpture park is now located, so I have a natural sympathy towards it and will always be anxious that it should thrive. However, the hon. Gentleman is not correct in his statement that business sponsorship is concentrated on the capital. Some 80 per cent. of the awards made by the Association for Business Sponsorship of the Arts, under BSIS, was to companies operating outside the capital.

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