§ 42. Mr. Hannam
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what measures are being taken to maintain support for the arts and amenities; and when his eight-point plan for the arts will be implemented.
§ Mr. Hugh Jenkins
The hon. Member is, I presume, referring to a newspaper report of last February. In consultation with my colleagues I am taking the measures necessary to continue support for the arts in times of considerable financial difficulty. As the hon. Member350W knows, the arts are particularly affected by rises in cost, and one cannot, for example, shorten a Shakespeare play or omit a movement of a symphony in the interests of economy. The Arts Council has received a supplementary estimate last June to take account of the VAT paid by its clients in the previous year, and in conformity with our undertakings entrance charges at the national museums and galleries have been abolished. I am keeping the question of cost increases for the arts under close review. It is my firm intention to protect the arts from the effects of inflation. As was announced in the Gracious Speech, the Government will introduce legislation to provide a public lending right for authors.