Regional Theatres

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Culture, Media and Sport – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 11th December 2000.

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Photo of Peter Ainsworth Peter Ainsworth Conservative, East Surrey 12:00 am, 11th December 2000

We must be approaching the pantomime season, Mr. Speaker.

The crisis in regional theatres is serious and deepening. Is not that partly a result of the complexity of the funding process, which benefits many consultants but is precious little use to theatres? Is it not also caused by an emphasis on funding politically correct activities and on social engineering, which means that the funding of the fabric of theatres takes second place? Furthermore, does the Minister agree that the crisis is caused not least by the net cut in Arts Council funds of £64 million that has been made in the past three years, according to the Government's own figures?