My question concerns a subject which was close to the heart of my late dear friend Norman Buchan. Will the Minister discuss with the Secretary of State for Scotland how public-sector support might be provided in respect of those crafts that will be denied support from the "Design by Scotland" agency which is to be set up in April? It should be pointed out that, south of the border, support is provided in respect of identical crafts. All that I seek is parity of support for Scots craftsmen and craftswomen.
I am very interested in which the hon. Gentleman has just said. Indeed, if he feels that crafts in Scotland are not being supported where comparable crafts in England are, and if he writes to me giving the details —and provides my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland with a copy of his letter—I shall be very happy to look into the problem with a view to finding out the reason for it.
Will my right hon. Friend, particularly in the context of these questions, reflect on a most important issue? I refer to the rolling programme of funding that was introduced by his predecessor, which received the full acclamation of the arts world. I hope that my right hon. Friend shares my view that ministerial intervention in the funding of the arts would be quite wrong, particularly in Scotland.
I am not quite sure whether my hon. Friend means that as a rebuke. He is such a kindly man that I think it hardly likely. Like him, I was, of course, delighted when my predecessor set up the rolling programme. One of the difficulties is that some of our clients do not think that the inflation expectation is realistic. Certainly the rolling programme is set in concrete for the time being, and it would be quite wrong for me to try to disturb it.