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Opera Companies

Oral Answers to Questions — Employment – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 27th November 1957.

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Photo of Miss Irene Ward Miss Irene Ward , Tynemouth 12:00 am, 27th November 1957

asked the Minister of Labour what estimate he has made of the number of people who will be unemployed through the Arts Council having become unable to maintain in employment the personnel of opera companies for whom they are by virtue of capital investment responsible.

Photo of Mr Iain Macleod Mr Iain Macleod , Enfield West

I regret that I cannot make such an estimate.

Photo of Miss Irene Ward Miss Irene Ward , Tynemouth

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that when unemployment threatens Covent Garden, affecting a London opera company, the Treasury rushes in additional subsidies, but that when an opera company from the Provinces is threatened the Treasury digs in its toes? In order that there may be fairness and Treasury money may be allocated fairly, is it not time that a Royal Commission was appointed to consider the whole problem of the allocation of subsidies to the arts? Will my right hon. Friend, with his great knowledge, recommend this to the Treasury so that the interests of those who come under the jurisdiction of my right hon. Friend's Department may be looked after?

Photo of Mr Iain Macleod Mr Iain Macleod , Enfield West

I will not promise to recommend it, but I will draw the attention of my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer to what my hon. Friend has said. The question of the grant made by the Government to the Arts Council is a matter for my right hon. Friend.