§ Mr. Andrew George
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what plans he has to provide support for regional cultural distinctions. 
§ Mr. Chris Smith
It is the policy of my Department to encourage greater devolution of responsibility and support to the regions. I therefore fully support, for example, the policy of the Arts Council for England to bring decisions on funding closer to those most affected by them by devolving many responsibilities to the regional arts boards. Furthermore, the Regional Cultural Consortiums have been given the task of producing regional cultural strategies which will set out how they can best support and promote each region's distinct cultural identity.