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Arts (Young People)

Volume 403: debated on Monday 7 April 2003

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When she next plans to visit Nottingham, North to discuss Government policy on the arts and young people. [104047]

Last summer, I announced the biggest increase in funding for the arts for at least 20 years. On 25 March, the Arts Council of England announced its spending plans for the next three years, which will provide major increases in funding for artists, performers and arts organisations in my hon. Friend's constituency and across the country. Support for young people is a key theme and investment in creative partnerships is set to grow from £25 million in the current year to £50 million in 2005–06.

In trying to hold the Government to account on creative partnerships, I made inquiries of Ellis Guildford, Trinity, Brocklewood, Gladehill, Hempshill Hall, Highwood, Rufford and Glenbrook schools, and every one had nothing but praise for the scheme that the Government have introduced. May I therefore ask my right hon. Friend whether she will ensure that this universally acclaimed scheme, as it operates in my constituency, will have sustainable funding?

I thank my hon. Friend. He will be pleased to learn—although he has done his research pretty well already—that 13 out of the 23 schools in the Nottingham creative partnership are in his constituency, which reflects the nature of deprivation in his constituency. Yes, it is our intention that in due course, and on the basis of careful evaluation, creative partnerships will become a national programme so that children all over the country, wherever they live or are at school, can be exposed to the benefits of arts and creativity from a very early age.