HC Deb 16 March 1998 vol 308 c941
13. Dr. Gibson

How he will determine the balance between the arts and science in the apportioning of funds via NESTA. [32910]

Mr. Chris Smith

The National Lottery Bill, which is currently before Parliament, sets out NESTA's objects in the fields of science, technology and the arts. The balance of funding between NESTA's activities will be for the chair and trustees of NESTA to determine, in line with statutory objects.

Dr. Gibson

My right hon. Friend will be aware of the debate in the heady 1960s between two cultures—arts and sciences—which was fronted by C. P. Snow and F. R. Leavis, and fomented through the common rooms and high tables of Oxford and Cambridge. We have moved on, and this is science, engineering and technology `98 week. Many young people will show their scientific and literary skills in the 5,000 projects that are to be demonstrated across the country. Does my right hon. Friend agree that literate scientists and arts graduates should be equally represented on the board of trustees?

Mr. Smith

I have consulted more than 250 bodies, including many in the scientific and technological fields, to identify candidates for the posts of chair and trustees of NESTA. We shall ensure that all disciplines are adequately and properly represented on the board. I congratulate my hon. Friend on his recent election as chairman of the all-party parliamentary office of science and technology group. I am pleased that we have progressed from the two cultures days of C. P. Snow and F. R. Leavis. NESTA will be charged to help to break down the artificial barriers between the arts and sciences, which have bedevilled this country for far too long.