Philanthropy (Arts)

Oral Answers to Questions — Culture, Media and Sport – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 29th November 2010.

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Photo of Mel Stride Mel Stride Conservative, Central Devon 2:30 pm, 29th November 2010

What progress he has made on arrangements to support philanthropy in the arts.

Photo of Jeremy Hunt Jeremy Hunt The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport

Boosting philanthropy is central to our strategy to help the arts weather an extremely difficult economic storm. We will announce a package of measures to do that before Christmas.

Photo of Mel Stride Mel Stride Conservative, Central Devon

Smaller organisations often lack the skills and experience to raise money from private sources. What can my right hon. Friend do to help smaller arts organisations, such as the Devon Guild of Craftsmen in my constituency, to raise even more money through philanthropy?

Photo of Jeremy Hunt Jeremy Hunt The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport

I commend my hon. Friend on his work for small arts organisations in his constituency. They are the lifeblood of the arts world. Organisations such as The Factory, an amateur arts group that puts on productions of "Hamlet" all over the country in church halls, are the kinds of organisations that nurture the acting talent of the future. They do not always have the fundraising capacity, however, to raise money from private donors. That is why, with the Arts Council, we will announce a series of measures to help rectify that. I hope that that will please my hon. Friend.

Photo of Steve Rotheram Steve Rotheram Labour, Liverpool, Walton

In his Department's structural reform plan, the Secretary of State made clear his support for philanthropic giving to supplement funding to arts and cultural organisations. Will he therefore join me in raising money for institutions in Liverpool? If I promise to get my mates to have a whip-round and to donate a few bob each, will he ask his 22 millionaire friends in the Cabinet to match our donations in proportion with their wealth?

Photo of Jeremy Hunt Jeremy Hunt The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport

I will happily give the hon. Gentleman any support I can in his attempts to boost philanthropy in Liverpool, as I will to attempts in the rest of the country. He is absolutely right-one of the best ways to boost philanthropy is to find a rich person and ask them to chair the fundraising committee.

Photo of Sarah Newton Sarah Newton Conservative, Truro and Falmouth

What progress has the Minister made in ensuring that national museums financially support their offspring in the regions, such as the National Maritime museum in Falmouth in my constituency?

Photo of Jeremy Hunt Jeremy Hunt The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport

My hon. Friend makes an important point. In the settlement letter that we gave to all the national museums, which protected their funding to a much greater extent than was possible for many other parts of the public sector, we asked them to come forward with proposals through which they would mentor and help smaller arts organisations in the regions with their fundraising. We hope to announce progress on that front in the next few weeks.

Photo of Ivan Lewis Ivan Lewis Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport

The Department's business plan states, intriguingly, that the Secretary of State's philanthropy strategy will incorporate "insights from behavioural science". Does he accept that if such a strategy is built solely on a nudge and a wink, or advice from a psychologist, it will be a damp squib in exactly the same way as a nudge and a wink, rather than the coalition's promised tax break, is doing nothing to support the growth of the UK video games industry?

Photo of Jeremy Hunt Jeremy Hunt The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport

It is all very well for the hon. Gentleman to carp from the sidelines, but where are his proposals to boost philanthropy? Where are his proposals to help increase the money going to the front line? We are doing things to try to boost the amount of private giving to deal with the economic crisis that we inherited from his Government. He should help us, support us and contribute constructively. I am happy to nudge him to do so.