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Funds (Regional Allocations)

Volume 480: debated on Monday 13 November 1950

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53.

asked the Lord President of the Council what percentage of the funds voted for the Festival of Britain have been allocated to projects in England, Scotland. Wales and Northern Ireland, respectively.

I cannot at this critical stage in the Festival preparations instruct the staff to lay aside their very urgent tasks in order to make theoretical calculations. The House will appreciate that much of the Festival expenditure is not assignable as between different parts of the United Kingdom and that any arbitrary attempt to split the totals in this way would be artificial and misleading.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there is great uneasiness on this subject because, out of the £10 million allocated, the miserable sum of £30,000 is going to Wales?

As a matter of fact, it is more than that. My recollection is that this is the first national function for which we have had committees for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland and made special provision; but it is perfectly clear that, inevitably, in a national effort of this kind, the capital is bound to attract the greater part of the expenditure. I assure the hon. Gentleman that we are most anxious that it shall be representative all over the country.

54.

asked the Lord President of the Council whether some part of the funds voted for the Festival of Britain can be allocated to the erection of a public hall in Llanrwst, which town, as the home of the National Eisteddfod in 1951, will be the chief Festival centre in the Principality.

The Festival of Britain Office is not empowered to allocate any part of its funds for the purpose, but I understand the Arts Council has offered £4,000 to the Llanrwst County Hall Association towards costs of the public building and that this has been accepted.

Could the Lord President tell us whether, as the Welsh Festival Committee has done a great deal to assist in the building of this hall, he will now receive further representations from the Llanrwst Urban District Council on the matter?

No, Sir. That is an unreasonable request. I have to be careful of the Festival of Britain being exploited for the purpose of making ad hoc grants to local authorities for other matters. In addition to the £4,000 towards the capital cost, the Arts Council has offered a grant of £6,000 to the National Eisteddfod for running costs. The hon. Gentleman must not think that we are too simple.

is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the indignation at the small amount granted to Wales is not confined to Llanrwst, and that unless a greater sum is made available to the Llanrwst Urban District Council, there will not be one permanent building as a memorial of the Festival of Britain in the whole of Wales?

I was not aware that the purpose of the Festival was to erect permanent memorial buildings.