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Arts Funding (East Midlands)

Volume 167: debated on Monday 12 February 1990

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To ask the Minister for the Arts what proposals he has to increase funding for the arts in the east midlands.

The funding of arts organisations is a matter for the Arts Council. In 1990–91 its grant to East Midlands Arts will increase by 10 per cent. and, taken with its direct spending in the region, amounts to a total of nearly £5 million.

Is the Minister aware that last week the board of directors of the Haymarket theatre announced losses of £500,000 in the past year? Is he also aware that the board will be meeting tonight and that it will make 13 employees of the theatre redundant? Will the Minister arrange for his officials to speak to the directors of the theatre to see whether the Government can provide funding to enable those jobs to be saved?

I am aware of the important role of the Haymarket theatre in Leicester and the surrounding area, and in 1988 I had the pleasure of visiting the theatre. It has a high reputation, but I realise that it has acquired a deficit of some size. It is up to every management to cut its coat according to the cloth available. I understand that the Arts Council has increased its financing for that theatre next year by 7 per cent. and, of course, funding comes from local authorities and other areas. Once the management has cut its coat accordingly I hope that it will be possible for it to ensure that the theatre moves forward to produce its normal high-quality work.