Private Sponsorship

Oral Answers to Questions — The Arts – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 21st October 1985.

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Photo of Mr Clement Freud Mr Clement Freud , North East Cambridgeshire 12:00 am, 21st October 1985

asked the Minister for the Arts if he will report on take-up of the pound-for-pound matching scheme for arts sponsorship; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of George Young George Young Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Environment)

Since 1 April 1985, £1·5 million has come in new sponsorship. Of this, £700,000 has come from 112 first-time sponsors taking part in the pound-for-pound matching scheme.

Photo of Mr Clement Freud Mr Clement Freud , North East Cambridgeshire

Does the Minister agree that the statistics that he has just given, together with those that he gave earlier to the hon. Member for Welwyn Hatfield (Mr. Murphy), show what a tremendous value-for-money exercise it is to match private sponsors with public money? Does he accept that it is counter-productive not to invest more money in the scheme, because the amount of work that it takes to hook a potential sponsor and the damage done by losing him if there is insufficient money will do little to futher the scheme?

Photo of George Young George Young Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Environment)

I agree with that, which is why I have just announced a further £250,000 for the scheme. One of the beneficiaries of the scheme has been Jill Freud and company, which won an award of £4,000 for a production of "Under Milk Wood", touring south and east England and Wales at the moment.

Photo of George Young George Young Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Environment)

On the current list of winners is the Ettrick Shepherds Festival, sponsored by Mrs. David Steel, so it would appear that the Liberal party has done quite well from this Government initiative.

Photo of Mr David Crouch Mr David Crouch , Canterbury

Is my hon. Friend aware of the considerable achievements of regional opera in this country, not least the resounding success of Kent Opera in no less a place than my constituency's Canterbury Festival this year, and will he continue to see that regional opera is given generous support?

Photo of George Young George Young Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Environment)

The regional allocations of funds is primarily a matter for the Arts Council, but I shall make sure that the council is aware of the enthusiastic support that my hon. Friend has mentioned for the arts in Kent, and particularly in Canterbury.