To ask the Minister for the Arts if he will make a statement on his proposals to provide incentive funding for public libraries.
I am glad to announce the establishment of an incentive scheme for public libraries in England. For this, I have set aside £250,000 a year for three years, 1988–89 to 1990–91. The main objective of the scheme is to promote new developments in the provision of these services. The awards given, following open competition, will cover up to 40 per cent. of the cost of development projects and feasibility studies. I shall give priority to the support of activities which involve collaboration with other libraries and the private sector. I have placed a descriptive note on the scheme in the libraries of Parliament.