HC Deb 06 April 1978 vol 947 cc167-8W
Mr. Strauss

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science, in view of the improving prospects for the economy, what proposals she has for meeting the needs both of the national heritage and of the living arts in 1978–79 and if she will make a statement.

Mrs. Shirley Williams

Details of the financial support which is proposed in my area of responsibility are in Class X of the Supply Estimates presented to the House today. I propose to increase by an average of 78.1 per cent the purchase grants for national museums and galleries, including the funds administered by the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Science Museum to assist purchases by local museums and galleries. The Victoria and Albert Museum's central fund will be increased by 83 per cent., and there will also be a higher than average increase for those institutions specialising in the applied and decorative arts and archaeology, where recent price rises have been higher than average. My Department's share of the £1 million announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer on 26th October 1977, revalued to current prices, has been used to augment the resources available to each recipient to enable recipients to meet the expected increased volume of sales.

I have already announced a 17½ per cent. increase in the grant-in-aid to the Arts Council, and I propose to increase by 27.8 per cent. the total grants to area museum councils for the assistance of local museums.

The total increase of my Department's Estimate for the arts, museums and galleries is 15½ per cent. In addition, all services will benefit from the Government's success in reducing inflation, which will reduce the escalation of costs and increase the ability of private individuals and institutions to support the arts.