§ Nick Harvey
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will make a statement on her Department's policy towards the funding of chamber orchestras. 
§ Dr. Howells
Through their recently announced spending allocations for 2004–05 to 2005–06 Arts Council England is to support a portfolio of seven chamber orchestras to serve those areas of the country which currently have little or no access to orchestral provision, and to ensure a rich mix of provision in other areas. As a result of these allocations, funding for the chamber orchestra sector will increase from £1.34 million this financial year to £1.97 million in 2005–06 or 47.2 per cent.
Main beneficiaries of this increase include:leading contemporary music ensembles—London Sinfonietta, Birmingham Contemporary Music Group and the Britten Sinfoniathe Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment—one of the country's busiest and most versatile period-instrument orchestrasmainstream chamber orchestras with an already established regional presence—City of London Sinfonia, London Mozart Players, Manchester Camerata.
In addition, the Arts Council invests around £350,000 a year through project funding to support chamber orchestras to tour nationally.