Arts Council England Funding: Coalfield Communities

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 10:06 pm on 20th February 2018.

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Photo of Michael Ellis Michael Ellis The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport 10:06 pm, 20th February 2018

I want to do everything I can to support all parts of society to access all forms of art. The Harley Gallery is doing wonderful work, and it is open to all. I know that the hon. Gentleman will join me in encouraging people to visit that gallery and any other galleries nearby that people wish to visit.

The Arts Council recognises the need to increase levels of ambition and interest at the local level. This, of course, cannot be done in isolation. Partnerships are vital. They often extend beyond culture and tourism to include businesses, the local authority in a given area, schools and higher education establishments. In places where that co-operation exists, great things can happen. I know that, as a supporter of the arts, the hon. Gentleman will be a leader in Bassetlaw in working to make these things happen. Clearly, things do not change overnight. It is important that this House devotes time to discussion of the arts, given their importance to so many people in our country.

I again congratulate the hon. Gentleman on enabling this discussion to take place.