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Volume 406: debated on Thursday 5 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what (a) measures she has taken and (b) resources she has committed to promote the (i) writing, (ii) reading and (iii) archiving of poetry in each of the last five years. [116021]

This is essentially a matter for Arts Council England, which funds a range of organisations concerned with the development of poetry, with a particular emphasis on readers and writers. The following table supplied by the Arts Council contains the information requested by my hon. Friend. These figures refer only to funding from the national office and do not include any regional funding or lottery spend.

Total literature spend (grant in aid)1,426,906
Total poetry spend1785,350
Total literature spend (grant in aid)1,551,016
Total poetry spend1,102,266
Total literature spend (grant in aid)1,706,889
Total poetry spend998,790
Total literature spend (grant in aid)1,498,034
Total poetry spend1,008,900
Total literature spend (grant in aid)1,468,645
Total poetry spend1,068,790
1 These figures are for organisations that focus entirely on poetry and also for organisations that have an element of poetry. They do not include monies spent by the old Regional Arts Boards.
The Arts Council is not itself responsible for archiving, which remains the responsibility of individual organisations. However, the Arts Council has funded the Poetry Library at the South Bank Centre for £90,000 to digitise its poetry magazine collection. The Arts Council is also supporting a programme of work by the Poetry Archive that will see contemporary poets recording their own work, which will then be made available on CD and via a specially designed website. The DIES is providing £280,000 of funding for this project in 2003–04, and the Arts Council will invest £60,000 in 2004–05, rising to £100,000 in 2005–06.As a result of the 2002 Comprehensive Spending Round, funding for literature will increase by 50 per cent. in 2004–05 and 2005–06. This builds on an increase of 77 per cent. in literature funding in the 2000 CSR. Approximately 80 per cent. of the total literature budget is spent directly or indirectly on poetry.