To ask the Minister for the Arts when he plans to meet the chairman of Lincolnshire and Humberside Arts to discuss the level of arts funding in Lincolnshire and Humberside in 1988–89.
I met the chairman of Lincolnshire and Humberside Arts on 3 December during my visit to the region.
Is the Minister aware that a delay in letting Lincolnshire and Humberside arts association know what its budget is to be for the forthcoming year can cause tremendous problems in its planning strategy? Is he further aware that the whole calculation of the grant to the Lincolnshire and Humberside arts association means that it is discriminated against because the Arts Council formula is based on population? This area is one of small scattered communities, and small organisations such as the Humberside dance project are put at a disadvantage because of this sort of calculation and because of a delay in giving the figures.
When I visited the area two weeks ago I was impressed by the work of the regional arts association. It does an excellent job and has already drawn up a regional development plan for the arts, drawing together the strands of the local authorities and the arts bodies and those of the regional arts association itself. Against the background of three-year funding which is now to be introduced, the regional arts association for that area will feel that it can help the arts bodies to plan ahead, to diversify their sources of funding and to become more self-reliant. I am confident that against the background of a 53 per cent. increase in real terms of resources available to the association in the last eight years its case will be carefully considered by the Arts Council.