HC Deb 04 July 1996 vol 280 cc503-4W
Mr. Luff

To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what estimate she has made of the number of students of dance and drama who will benefit from her recent announcement on the use of lottery funds for scholarship purposes. [25247]

Mr. Sproat

I regret the delay in replying.

My hon. Friend's deep interest in the issue of dance and drama training is well known and respected. He set out his views with passion and eloquence in introducing a debate on dance and drama students in the House last week. The announcement by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State directed the Arts Council to take account of the need to develop the skills, talents and creative abilities of young people in particular. It is for the Arts Council—the independent lottery distribution body—to draw up detailed schemes to put this direction into practice. To this end, it has recently issued a consultation document, and is holding a series of consultative meetings.

The Arts Council has also asked a small group of its members, headed by the chairman of the London arts board, to analyse the current situation facing dance and drama students and to make recommendations on the administration of grants to these students for the future. As part of its work, the group will consider whether lottery money can be used to help with the problems facing dance and drama students in a way which does not substitute for existing public spending. I look forward to hearing the outcome of this work.