Government Grants

Oral Answers to Questions — The Arts – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 26 March 1990.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr Harry Greenway Mr Harry Greenway , Ealing North 12:00, 26 March 1990

To ask the Minister for the Arts (a) what Government grants were made to the arts between February 1974 and June 1979, (b) what grants have been made since June 1979; and what was the average annual increase in real terms in each case; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Mr Richard Luce Mr Richard Luce , Shoreham

Grants to the arts have risen from £157 million in 1979–80 to £449 million in the current year—an annual average increase in real terms of 3·6 per cent.

I regret that comparable information about grants in the earlier years is not available, but the total under the Department of Education and Science programme in 1978–79 was £129 million.

Photo of Mr Harry Greenway Mr Harry Greenway , Ealing North

Is not it clear that under this Government, grants to the arts have increased more in real terms than under any previous Government? Does not that show that the Government are paraclete and encourage the arts, and that the Opposition are nothing but a bunch of philistines?

Photo of Mr Richard Luce Mr Richard Luce , Shoreham

My hon. Friend is absolutely right about our commitment to the arts on behalf of the taxpayer. The fact that, under the new funding arrangements, the Government have decided to increase overall funding for the arts in the next three years by 24 per cent. demonstrates our commitment to the arts. We believe that the taxpayer should underpin the expansion in the arts funding by the private sector.

Photo of Mr Eric Heffer Mr Eric Heffer , Liverpool, Walton

What personal representations has the right hon. Gentleman made to people in the private sector? For example, Tate and Lyle has made no contribution to the Tate gallery in Liverpool, although the company made its money in that city. Is not it important that the Government should make representations to that company? I have done so, but without great success. Would not it be a good idea if those who make money in the city of Liverpool made a contribution to the arts there?

Photo of Mr Richard Luce Mr Richard Luce , Shoreham

As the hon. Gentleman knows, I am keen —obviously he does not oppose it, either—on an effective partnership being developed between the public and the private sectors and on corporations realising the benefit to them of contributing to the community through sponsorship or through donations. I want them to play their part, but they must decide, because they are accountable to their shareholders. I hope that the hon. Gentleman welcomes the decision of my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer to encourage giving through the gift aid arrangements that will be introduced next autumn.