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The Arts

Volume 124: debated on Monday 14 December 1987

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Touring Companies

67.

To ask the Minister for the Arts what steps he is taking to encourage touring companies to perform more in the regions.

I have included a contribution towards the cost of additional regional touring in the Arts Council's grant-in-aid for 1988–89 and the two succeeding years.

I welcome my right hon. Friend's announcement. Will he underline the fact that many of the quality touring companies are based in the regions and provinces as well as London? Will he request that, when such companies tour the country, they contact local education authorities to ensure that they can contribute to the education of the area in which they perform?

I agree that touring must not be seen as a one-way business out of London. Rather, it should be regarded as a two-way business. Excellence in the arts in parts of the country other than London should be available to the regions and London. That is the purpose of the proposals for more touring that are being developed by the Arts Council. My hon. Friend knows that I have set aside more money for touring to ensure that excellence in the arts is available to as many people as possible in as many parts of the country as possible.

Glasgow

69.

To ask the Minister for the Arts what further support he intends to give towards Glasgow as City of Culture in 1990.

The city authorities have undertaken to provide enough money themselves to finance a substantial and varied programme of events.

When the Minister says that Glasgow has been given City of Culture status on condition that no Government money is forthcoming, will he bear in mind that, in 1989, Paris will be spending considerably more than he will allow in Glasgow and that it will not be rate capped? Will he do one thing which will not cost him money—persuade his right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland to allow the city borrowing powers so that it can go ahead with the concert hall which is so much needed?

I am aware of the anxiety that has been expressed about the plans for the concert hall and I realise that recent proposals have come to nothing so far. I know that my right hon. and learned Friend is sympathetic to the problem and that he is waiting for the alternative proposals which might be put forward with a view possibly to constructing a concert hall. As for the city of Glasgow, I repeat that the condition upon which I accepted nominations from cities to qualify as European City of Culture was that they should provide their own resources. I admired Glasgow for saying that it would do that, and it has achieved that aim.