§ Charlotte Atkins
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what guidance he has issued to local authorities on the priority they should attach to cultural services. 
§ Janet Anderson
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State published draft Guidance on Local Cultural Strategies for all local authorities in England in June last year. This Guidance emphasises the importance of cultural services in improving the quality of life for all. A major theme of the Guidance is how cultural services can contribute to wider aims such as tackling social exclusion, encouraging healthier lifestyles and stimulating a commitment to lifelong learning.
In February we sent all local authorities a mid-term progress report on the experiences of 14 authorities who have been piloting the Guidance. Responses from some 300 local authorities indicated that 85 per cent. of them were developing or had developed a cultural strategy. That represents approximately two-thirds of local authorities in England, which is very good progress.