HC Deb 11 May 1984 vol 59 cc461-3W
Mr. Murphy

asked the Parliamentary Under—secretary answering in respect of the Arts if he will list the main policy achievements of the Office of Arts and Libraries since May 1979.

Mr. Waldegrave

Since 1979 the Government have sustained and strengthened the overall level of arts activity, within the constraints of available resources and ational economic circumstances. To underline their commitments to the arts, the Government have increasingly emphasised the importance of a central office concerned with this field; and in July 1983 the Office of Arts and Libraries was detached from the Department of Education and Science to become a free—standing Department, responsible to my noble Friend the Minister for the Arts.

The Government's approach to a number of arts policy issues is set out in its recent observations (Cmnd. 9127) on the Eighth Report from the Education, Science and Arts Select Committee, Session 1981–82. More particlarly, the main policy achievements since May 1979 include the following:

National Heritage

  1. (1) The passage of the National Heritage Act in 1980 created the national heritage memorial fund to assist the preservation and acquisition of items of outstanding national importance. The fund has received a substantial initial endowment and total Government contributions to date amount to over £35 million.
  2. (2) Under the 1980 Act a Government indemnity scheme covering the loan of works or art for public benefit has been developed. This enables such loans to take place without insurance costs to the institutions and individuals concerned; and England alone some 330 separate exhibitions have already been covered in this way.
  3. (3) The taxation and other arrangements for protecting works of art which form part of the national heritage have been kept under regular review in conjuction with the Revenue Departments. In particular, changes have been made in the arrangements for conditional exemption and the douceur so as to facilitate the retention of important works of art and other heritage objects in private hands, or their sale by private treaty to public institutions. The OAL has published guidance on the arrangements for conditional exemption, acceptances in lieu and private treaty sales, and on in situ offers in lieu of capital taxation.
  4. (4) Encouragement has been given to owners of offer items of heritage quality in lieu of capital taxation liabilities; as a result the Government have formally accepted important in lieu offers from 31 estates since the summer of 1979, in satisfaction of tax liabilities of some £6.5 million.
  5. (5) The arrangements for the control of export of works of art have been improved. The Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art has considered a total of 101 applications for export licences resulting in the retention in this country of 45 items judged to be of national importance, of which 34 are now in public collections.
  6. (6) The Office of Arts and Libraries assumed responsibility for the Government Art Collection on 1 April 1980, and has taken steps to improve the effectiveness of its operations, including computerisation of its inventory.

Performing and visual arts

  1. (7) The level of support for the performing and visual arts has been broadly maintained. For the financial year 1984–85 the level of commitment to the Arts Council, British Film Institute and Crafts Council has reached over £109 million. A supplementary grant of £3.7 million was made available at the end of 1983–84 to deal with some pressing problems in arts bodies. Special provision of £4.1 million is being made in 1984–85 to enhance the operating baseline of the Royal Shakespeare company, the Royal opera house and four other opera companies, following a financial scrutiny.
  2. (8) The Arts Council has been able to support a very wide range of arts activities, particularly through increasing emphasis on regional arts. It has recently published a review of its future funding strategy, "The Glory of the Garden".
  3. (9) The British Film Institute has been encouraged to develop its film production interests and particular emphasis has been placed on meeting the needs of the National Film Archive.
  4. (10) Additional financial provision has been made for the Crafts Council, permitting the Council to acquire and open a new gallery and resource centre. The Council was granted a Royal Charter in 1982.
  5. (11) A campaign for business sponsorship of the arts was launched with the help of a distinguished Committee of Honour and has seen a substantial growth in the amount of private sponsorship, to around £14 million a year. Regional meetings on sponsorship have been held and two booklets produced by the OAL.
  6. (12) A new business sponsorship incentive scheme is in the process of being launched. This will provide an incentive to attract new sponsorship help for the arts through an element of matching Government funding. It is expected to operate from 1 October 1984.
  7. (13) Grants have been made to the Theatres Trust to enable it to continue its work to preserve theatres. The Government have also made a grant to the theatre investment fund: taken with an equivalent grant by the Arts Council, and matching money from the Society of West End Theatres, a sum of £500,000 has been made available to help with investment in plays.

Museums and Galleries

  1. (14) The OAL has assumed responsibility for the Standing Commission on Museums and Galleries, which, renamed the Museums and Galleries Commission, has been strengthened to enable it to give better guidance and help to local museums. Since 1982 it has administered a small capital grants scheme benefiting local museums, and a new conservation grant scheme has been introduced this year. Support for the area museum councils has been sustained.
  2. (15) The level of funding for the national museums and galleries has also been broadly maintained and there has been a continuing programme of building work partly financed with help from private sources. Substantial additional accommodation has been provided at the British museum, the National gallery and the Victoria and Albert museum; and the Wallace collection and the Imperial War museum's HMS Belfast have been refurbished. Further major works are in progress at various institutions, including the Tate gallery, where the Clore foundation is generously funding the construction of a new Turner gallery. Priority is being given to the maintenance and refurbishment of the institutions' premises.
  3. (16) A national museum of photography has been established by the Science museum in Bradford. A new Theatre museum is under construction in premises in the Old Flower market site at Covent garden to house the Victoria and Albert museum's theatrical collection.
  4. (17) The provisions of the National Heritage Act 1983, granting trustee status to the Victoria and Albert and the Science museums to place them on a similar footing to the existing national trustee institutions, have been brought into force. The Rayner scrutiny report on these two museums, and the ensuing action document, have been published.
  5. (18) Contributions have been made to the appeal funds for the Royal Academy and the CourtauId Institute picture gallery.

Local Government Reorganisation

(19) The Government have announced their intention to provide central funding of £34 million in support of local performing arts, film and museums and galleries from 1986–87 onwards, following the abolition of the GLC and metropolitan county councils.

Libraries and Information Services

  1. (20) Work has commenced on the first phase of a new building for the British Library.
  2. (21) The Library Advisory Council has been strengthened, renamed the Library and Information Services Council and given a wider remit including information services. Two reports on the future development of libraries and information services and a report on the impact of electronic publishing have been published. The Council is considering a number of important issues, including the future manpower and training requirements for library and information specialists.

Public Lending Right

  1. (22) The Public Lending Right Act 1979 introduced the right of payment to authors whose books are borrowed from public libraries. The scheme is now in operation and the first payments have been made to authors.

Index number 1980–81=100
1975–76 1976–77 1977–78 1978–79 1979–80 1980–81 1981–82 1982–83
Gross national product at constant factor cost* 94.7 97.5 98.5 101.6 103.3 100.0 100.1 103.4
Index of output for the production industries* 94.0 99.7 102.6 106.9 110.0 100.0 99.4 101.3
Public expenditure (cost terms at 1982–83 pricest†)—Total‡ Of which: 104.2 102.3 93.9 98.4 98.5 100.0 102.8 104.4
Current expenditure on goods and services• 96.1 96.8 93.1 94.8 97.1 100.0 102.7 105.4
Social security benefits 85.7 90.7 97.2 98.4 100.0 110.9 118.4
Other║ 96.5 99.2 79.2 94.3 101.9 100.0 95.2 96.1
Investment¶• 183.2 162.6 129.5 116.3 112.7 100.0 74.5 78.0

* Initially compiled 1980=100, rescaled to 1980–810=100.

†On the current definition of the public expenditure planning total.

‡Includes market and overseas borrowing by nationalised industries and some other public corporations and special sales of assets not included in the three component categories.

║Transfers, other than social security benefits, from general government to the private sector and to some public corporations.

¶Investment by general government and certain public corporations only. This is net of sales of fixed assets, mainly council houses. A more comprehensive picture of public sector capital spending is shown in Table 1.13 of the public expenditure White Paper (Cmnd. 9143).

•Following national accounting conventions, most defence expenditure is classified as current expenditure on goods and services. If instead the expenditure identified as capital under the NATO definition is reclassified as capital rather than as current, and if council house sales are excluded from the investment figures, then the following series are produced. (Index numbers as above. Earlier years not readily available.)

1978–79 1979–80 1980–81 1981–82 1982–83
Investment 101.6 103.7 100.0 91.7 100.2
Current expenditure on goods and services 95.9 97.6 100.0 102.5 104.9

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