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Attenborough Report

Volume 81: debated on Monday 17 June 1985

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asked the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State answering in respect of the Arts what steps the Minister for the Arts proposes taking to implement the recommendations within his responsibility of the Attenborough report on the arts and disabled people; and if he will make a statement.

The recommendations were addressed to a wide range of bodies; but my right hon. and noble Friend will be giving careful consideration to those which touch on his responsibilities.

Will the Minister pay attention to paragraph 4.17 of the report, which is one of his responsibilities, which recommends that funds should be made available so that arts venues are more accessible to disabled people? Will he consider the point made in the report that there might be an incentive scheme similar to the BSIS to make such funds available?

I shall draw the latter suggestion to my right hon. and noble Friend's attention. The previous point made by the hon. Gentleman has already been a matter for discussion with the arts funding bodies. I am aware that the hon. Gentleman has reason to be proud of the high standard of that excellent report.

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, arising out of Question Time. There is a familiar phrase used in the House which has a bearing on what I shall ask. It relates to the organ grinder and the monkey. It is becoming extremely difficult for us, especially when figures are involved, when we receive a surrogate response. The difficulty is caused because the Minister for the Arts, not yet replaced by an American millionaire, is in another place. If, for example, the Minister for the Arts had been present in the House today he would have been forced to acknowledge his pledge of replacement for the funds and we could have questioned him on that point. Could the inconvenience that that causes on both sides of the House, and not least to Conservative Back Benchers, be made known through you, Mr. Speaker?

I have many responsibilities in this place, but the appointment of Ministers is not one of them.