HC Deb 07 March 1963 vol 673 cc82-3W
Mr. Bourne-Arton

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will make a statement about Exchequer grant-in-aid to the Arts Council.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

Yes. After consultation with the Arts Council I have come to the conclusion that it would be both helpful to the Arts Council and in accordance with modern ideas on the handling of Government expenditure to determine the grant to the Arts Council on an expanding basis for a three-year period. I have therefore told the Arts Council that, subject to the approval of Parliament, provision will be made in the 1963–64 Estimates for a grant of £1,900,000 plus a provision of £830,000 for Covent Garden. This £1,900,000 compares with £1,500,000 in the current year. It takes account, among other things, of the requirements of the National Theatre, whose annual subsidy has been fixed at £130,000 a year for four years, and of the grant promised by the Arts Council to the Royal Shakespeare Theatre Company.

I have told the Arts Council that the comparable figure for 1964–65 will be increased to £2,100,000 and for 1965–66 to £2,325,000. This should allow for a reasonable expansion in the Arts Coun- cil's work, which the Government feel is of great value to the nation. It is, of course, the intention that these grants should be varied only in quite exceptional circumstances. This arrangement does not affect the grant in respect of Covent Garden, which will continue to be dealt with separately under the formula introduced a year ago.