§ Ms Atherton
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if he will make a statement on plans to reduce the size of regional orchestras. 
§ Mr. Alan Howarth
The Arts Council's plans for the regional orchestras were announced last October. Discussions with individual orchestras on securing their long-term future are currently underway, and these will include looking at ways in which they could benefit from greater flexibility to vary the number of players so that they can diversify their repertoire and bring a greater range of music, including large scale symphonic work, to audiences across England.