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Volume 194: debated on Monday 1 July 1991

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To ask the Minister for the Arts if he will meet the chairman of the Arts Council to discuss support for poetry.

I meet the chairman of the Arts Council regularly for discussions on a range of subjects.

When the Minister next meets the Arts Council chairman, will he discuss with him the threat to the existence of the magazine Aquarius, which is published by Mr. Eddie Linden? This small poetry magazine requires very little financial support, although it has been a breeding ground for many a poet who has proceeded to become eminent and successful. Will the Minister arrange with the Arts Council chairman for an application for support to be made?

I am well aware of the hon. Gentleman's interest in this subject and in the literary magazine in question. I assure him that the Arts Council provides help for literary magazines—usually as a one-off, as it prefers to avoid long-term commitments. I understand that no approach has yet been made to the Arts Council about Aquarius, but, if such an approach is made, the Arts Council will certainly consider whether it can give the magazine reasonable assistance.