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Arts: Lottery Funding

Volume 755: debated on Thursday 10 July 2014

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in the light of Arts Council England’s recently announced funding plan, whether they continue to adhere to the principle of additionality with respect to lottery funding of the arts.

My Lords, the Government believe in the importance of a mixed funding model for the arts. This includes public funding, lottery revenue, philanthropic giving and private income. Each contributes to the vibrancy and success of the arts in this country. The Government expect all lottery distributors, including Arts Council England, to ensure that they adhere to the principles of additionality and remain accountable to Parliament.

My Lords, I am sure that companies whose entire award now comes from the lottery, such as the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Glyndebourne Touring Opera, are grateful that they benefit from what is undeniably the changed status of lottery funding. However, does the Minister not agree that what have always been most at risk over the past four years, and increasingly so even within a supposedly improved economy, are the small companies and organisations whose funding by government subsidy has proved over decades to be the best and most efficient means by which innovative work is encouraged throughout the whole country?

My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Earl for referring to the whole country, because investment outside London is very much one of the Arts Council England’s priorities. The increasing amount that is invested outside London is terribly important. Arts Council England has the responsibility for ensuring that those funds are directed appropriately. It clearly would not be for government or civil servants to start deciding winners and losers in the artistic world; that is for Arts Council England and its responsibility to invest.

My Lords, is the Minister aware that, during the past 20 years, as a result of the principle of additionality, lottery funds have been allocated substantially to capital? As a result of the combination of lottery and substantial private funding, we have a remarkable range of new-built and refurbished cultural buildings. How will the Government ensure that, in the next 20 years, those buildings are not allowed to fall into disrepair because lottery funding is being allocated elsewhere, as happened in the 1970s and 1980s after the last big series of building projects?

My Lords, we have seen some very exciting refurbishments and restorations of our heritage buildings. It is precisely why the Government and arm’s-length bodies such as the Arts Council, the Heritage Lottery Fund and English Heritage have provided extensive funding towards cultural heritage, including buildings. It is important that Arts Council England provides capital grants which can be spent on purchase, improvement and restoration of capital projects. What the noble Baroness said is absolutely right: the last thing we want to do is to have an investment and let it deteriorate.

My Lords, additionality was one of the founding principles of the National Lottery. Another was that there should be only one National Lottery. That is the not the situation today. We have the Health Lottery, which is a national lottery in all but name, and there is the new problem of gambling operators offering products that masquerade as lotteries but are in fact bets. These damage the ability to raise funds for good causes such as the arts. What do the Government intend to do about this?

My noble friend raises issues about other lotteries—she mentioned the Health Lottery. The market is changing. The Gambling Commission is providing us with further advice on how the markets are operating, which we will consider before consulting later in the year. The changes in the lottery and gambling markets have made it clear to us that any consultation on society lotteries needs to be far more wide-ranging than was originally thought.

My Lords, if the principle of additionality is to mean what we all want it to mean in practice across the country, will the Minister talk to his friends at the Department for Communities and Local Government? So long as local authorities are so severely constrained in their ability to support the arts, it will not be possible to have the kind of thriving arts ecology across the whole country that I know he wants and we all want.

That is why I said in my original Answer that it is important that we have a mixed-funding arrangement. It serves us very well to have state funding, lottery funding and philanthropic and corporate sponsorship. The noble Lord is right: local government has huge challenges, as does the nation, about spending. Local government is still the largest investor in the arts, and I hope that it will remain so. There are challenges, but there are enormous success stories where local authorities have recognised that arts and heritage are important for tourism and visitor numbers. There are many examples of cities and towns around the country, Hull and Liverpool among them, which are successful because of their artistic investment.

My Lords, in thanking my noble friend for his own personal commitment, may I ask him to assure the House that the places of worship scheme, whereby grants are given to historic churches and other places of worship on their intrinsic architectural and historical importance, will continue and not be diminished?

My Lords, my noble friend’s question is timely, because the Chancellor granted an extra £20 million to cathedrals around the country, mindful particularly of the part that they will play in the commemorations of the First World War. I endorse what my noble friend has said. The buildings to which he referred are some of our most ancient treasures; they need to be helped to remain in good state.

My Lords, may we go back to the point in the original Question about the principle of additionality? I am sure that the Minister is aware of the Statement made by the Secretary of State in the other place only a few days ago. He said:

“The principle of additionality is very important and the distributors must adhere to it all times”.—[Official Report, Commons, 3/7/14; col. 1057.]

Given that, can the Minister explain to your Lordships’ House why 102 companies now receiving grant in aid from Arts Council England, which in previous years were entirely funded by grant in aid, are now to be funded from the lottery?

My Lords, this is an area on which the Arts Council has been reflecting in particular, and of course it is required to report on adherence to the principle of additionality. One of the key points is that lottery funding for the years 2012 to 2015 has gone towards a specific purpose: touring, and working with children and young people. That is why Arts Council England has announced that these significant elements—of touring and of specific organisations working with children and young people—will be wholly funded through the lottery from 2015 to 2018.

My Lords, following the report by Darren Henley some years ago, the Government launched a national plan for music education. When will the Government announce the future funding for that national plan, and how will they ensure its successful delivery?

My Lords, the Government have committed £171 million over three years to 123 music hubs across England, to ensure that every child aged five to 18 has the chance to learn a musical instrument and perform as part of ensembles and choirs. Because of those hubs, 500,000 children have been given the chance to learn a musical instrument for the first time. There is always more to be done, but a lot of effort is going into recognising and then ensuring that there is fulfilment of the musical experience for young people and children.

My Lords, we are soon to see the 50th anniversary of the Notting Hill carnival—but, sadly, we have just seen Arts Council funding cuts to the only carnival arts organisation that provides design, art and culture for children and gives them the opportunity to be exposed to creativity, and for their imagination to blossom. Can my noble friend tell the House what provision has been made to address this deficit?

My Lords, obviously the decisions that the Arts Council or any organisation has to make are always difficult; they are full of challenges. But Arts Council England is very clear that if an organisation does not receive funding, part of its advice service is to ensure that other sources of funding are considered and advised upon.