HC Deb 14 July 1982 vol 27 cc397-8W
Mr. Latham

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he will make a statement on the results of his Department in achieving the Government's policy programme in so far as it affects the arts since the Minister of State's reply to the hon. Member for Melton on 30 June 1981, Official Report, c. 371.

Mr. Channon

[pursuant to his reply, 12 July 1982, c. 285]: The Office of Arts and Libraries has continued to carry out a wide range of day-to-day administrative work to support, facilitate and promote the arts, museums and libraries. The following are among the special developments with which my office has been concerned over the past year:


  1. (a) Arts Council—The total grant of £86 million provided an increase in revenue grant of 9.1 per cent. to ensure central Government support for the arts at broadly the existing level.
  2. (b) Grants to the BFI and Crafts Council were both increased.
  3. (c) The BFI allocation included a special allowance of £200,000 for the preservation and storage of the National Film Archive. The grant to the Crafts Council, which has now been granted a Royal charter, included additional financial provision for a new gallery and resource centre which opened in January.

Museums and Galleries The Rayner scrutiny report on the Victoria and Albert and Science museums was published on 27 May and an announcement was made indicating the Government's intention to introduce early legislation to establish separate trustee bodies for each museum but not to introduce charges for general admission to the main collections. The Government announced that they would await proposals from the new trustees on this topic. Consultations on the other recommendations in the report will continue until early August. The Museums and Galleries Commissions has been strengthened to enable it to give better guidance and help to local museums. The commission will also administer the new small capital grant scheme which will benefit local museums. A major refurbishment of the Wallace collection has been completed. Progress continues on the projects involving private capital investment which will provide additional accommodation for the National Gallery and the Tate Gallery. Additional resources have been made available to enable the Imperial War Museum to contract for the dry docking of HMS "Belfast".

Royal Academy The Government announced a contribution of £250,000 to the Royal Academy appeal fund.

Theatres Trust A further grant has been made to the Theatres Trust to enable it to continue its work to preserve theatres.

National Heritage Following the interim report on works of art from the Select Committee on Education, Science and the Arts, the introduction of (1) changes in the access requirements governing conditionally exempt works of art in order to assist certain categories of private owner and (2) a measure of flexibility in the "douceur" in private treaty sales. The OAL simple guide to the capital taxation arrangements for works of art has been completed and will be published soon. Indemnity cover has been provided for a large number of exhibitions throughout the United Kingdom. Continuing support for acquisitions by private treaty or in lieu of tax of major objects and pictures which form part of the national heritage; and operation of the statutory provision for the control of export of such works of art.

Libraries and Information Services Work has begun on the first phase of the new building for the British Library. The scope of the former Library Advisory Council—now renamed Library and Information Services Council—has been extended and a further report on the future development of libraries and information services has been published. Steps are being taken to promote its implementation. A special adviser on information services has been appointed and OAL has assumed responsibility for the interdepartmental co-ordinating committee for scientific and technical information. A major seminar of national organisations was held to discuss the promotion of effective use of information services.

Public Lending Right Parliament has approved the PLR scheme. The first parts of the scheme to enable final preparations for its operation to be put in hand have been introduced. The Registrar's preparations are in hand for the first registration of authors' interests due to start on 1 September.

Business Sponsorship Continued encouragement of private sponsorship, now estimated to provide support for the arts of around £7 million a year. Extension of campaign to encourage increased sponsorship in the regions including meetings in York, Norwich, Mold and Bangor. Publication of a new booklet "How to Win Sponsors and Influence People" to provide basic guidance to arts organisations seeking sponsorship.

International A Council of Europe colloquy on "Fostering Artistic Creation in the Theatre" was organised in October 1981, and was attended by about 40 representatives from the member States of the Council for Europe.