§ Mr. Barry Jones
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (1) what discussions he has had with the Chief Executives of regional orchestras; and if he will make a statement; 125W
(2) how many regional orchestras have notified him that they have financial problems; and if he will make a statement; 
(3) what steps he has taken to increase the funding of regional orchestras since 1997. 
§ Mr. Fisher
The Arts Council of England takes decisions on the balance of funding between artforms and the distribution of Government grant-in-aid to regional orchestras without the involvement of Ministers. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State and I have received representations from the major regional orchestras on a range of issues, and between us have met Chief Executives or other senior representatives of four of the main regional orchestras as well as other major orchestras.