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.