Skip to main content

The Arts (Expenditure)

Volume 534: debated on Thursday 3 November 2011

Cuts are a challenge for all arts organisations and we have tried to mitigate the situation with four-year budget settlements and an increase in lottery funding of 43%, with the result that we have been able to preserve free admission to museums.

I could thank the Minister for that very complacent answer, but the arts have faced huge cuts of 29% and the Government say that the cuts will be replaced by “philanthropic giving” although the level of donations always falls in a downturn. How much of the 29% cut in the arts has been replaced by philanthropic giving?

Let me tell the hon. Gentleman. Philanthropic giving to major arts organisations stands at £250 million and went up 6% last year. Lottery funding changes that we introduced, which his party did not support, will add £80 million a year to the arts budget by 2013—so, more philanthropy and more lottery. His party was talking about cuts of 20% across the whole of Government whereas we have limited cuts to 15%, so there are lower cuts as well.

I welcome the shadow Secretary of State and her team to their new posts.

Does the Secretary of State agree that the biggest threat to funding for the arts is anything that damages income to the national lottery, such as the so-called society lottery set up by Richard Desmond and his newspapers? Does the Secretary of State believe that that lottery abides by the spirit and letter of current legislation? If not, what is he going to do about it; and if he believes it does, should we not change the legislation?

My right hon. Friend is well aware of my concerns about anything that challenges or threatens the important income that goes to good causes from the national lottery. He will know that the Gambling Commission and the National Lottery Commission are looking at this, and we await what they have to say with great interest.