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Lord Dainton: My Lords, I should like to ask two questions, but before doing so I must declare an interest. I was Chairman of the National Libraries Committee in 1968-69 when it went outside its remit not only to recommend the foundation of a national library, which later recommendation was incorporated in the British Library Act 1972, but also to recommended that a building must be provided for the vast collections then dispersed, and still dispersed, throughout 16 buildings, many of which are totally unsatisfactory--for example, wooden huts at Woolwich Arsenal--to house that vast treasure house which is so valuable to us.
Lord Dainton: My Lords, I am merely declaring my interests. For seven years, I was Chairman of the British Library Board, during which time the project to which the Question refers was started. Certainly while I was chairman for three years there was very strong control within the British Library.
Does the Minister agree with me that this building, which has recently been the subject of favourable comments from knowledgeable people not only in this country but also abroad, will--although smaller than it might be--provide an environment wholly appropriate for the Library's treasure house of knowledge and rich holdings? It will thereby ensure a much longer life and readier and easier access to the users. Does he agree also that judged by any system of rational accounting, the UK will be having a fine building which is much more satisfactory than other libraries? It will certainly be workable and will not be a icon to any particular politician, like the Bibliotheque Nationale at twice the cost.
The noble Earl said: My Lords, I am delighted that my Motion has at least the merit of attracting the maidenly appearance of my noble friend Lord Hindlip. He is an old friend from youth and when I was chairman of Sotheby's he was a fascinating sparring partner. I congratulate him on now assuming the world chairmanship of another great auction house whose name temporarily escapes me.
If we strip the phrase of its sinister, Maoist overtones, nothing less than a cultural revolution is taking place in our country today. Its engine is the National Lottery. In only a year and a half, the National Lottery--an engine so successful that no one surely should carp at the engineers drawing a 1 per cent. reward--has raised no less than £2 billion for the arts, sport, the heritage, caring charities and schemes to celebrate the new millennium. So far, 5,812 awards for nearly 7,000 projects adding up to £1.7 billion have been committed. Through these the lottery is encouraging a sense of community and social cohesion, not least by acting as a springboard for the regeneration of our towns, our cities and our villages.
With both the major political parties acknowledging that public spending as a proportion of GDP is not only unsustainable, but prevents output from rising as fast as it otherwise might, it is surely fantasy to imagine that the work being done in those fields could be fuelled by conventional public expenditure. In my view, that outweighs hostility to gambling in any form. That hostility has a long and honourable history in our culture, but so does the gambling. Be this as it may, I am told that the average weekly spend is £2 and that no less than 65 per cent. of the adult population regularly take part in the games.
I believe that in a consumerist democracy it is if anything rather offensive to take a paternalist stance, and for us to assume, as legislators, that this huge proportion of people do not know what is right for them. If people change their minds, the lottery takings will
I am, therefore, most grateful to my noble friend Lady Young, and the Whips' Office, for allowing me this opportunity, on a Conservative day, to draw attention to the social and economic benefits of the National Lottery. It is generous of them, because on all aspects concerning lottery awards and their effects--and these are very far-reaching aspects--and, indeed, on the arts economy generally, I am in effect a Cross-Bencher. The Arts Council which, with the art councils of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, gets one-fifth of the lottery's distributable proceeds, is an instrument of government, peopled by those who support various political parties, and none. But our hand, so to speak, is at arm's length from government, and that is a long accepted and valued system.
However, it is fair to say that there is at least poetic justice in taking Conservative time. The lottery is very much the personal creation of my right honourable friend the Prime Minister. Others, myself included, tried to get one accepted for legislation a dozen years ago, and we failed. My right honourable friend got the legislation through and, most important of all, he got it through with all-party support. The three shadow Ministers that I have had the pleasure and interest of dealing with since I joined the council two years ago have been generally supportive as have the three Ministers; and so, indeed, has the noble Lord, Lord Donoughue, who I am delighted to see will be speaking for his Front Bench today.
Indeed, the Labour Party in local and regional government, sharply aware of the regenerative possibilities of investing in our culture, has been most supportive. Newcastle and Gateshead, Manchester and Liverpool, Birmingham, Bristol and London, to name only the biggest cities, will soon be transformed in a way not seen since the confident years of Victorian and Edwardian industrial and municipal expansion. Or they will be transformed if we keep our heads and do not mess about with the lottery on any significant scale for five or six years. As the Prime Minister said to me when we discussed my appointment:
So the revolution is under way, fuelled by talent and commitment but also by the sudden, and rather bewildering, availability of new, hard cash. The Sports Council (which I hope the noble Lord, Lord Addington, will tell us something about) has made about 1,750 awards, totalling nearly £300 million, for football, new swimming pools, athletics, tennis--we shall start winning Wimbledon again when tennis moves from Windlesham, so to speak, to Wigan--for cricket and, I am told, for bowls: in the people's lottery those of us who are not so young must also be served.
The caring charities--and I believe that my noble friend Lady Young will have something to say on these--started a year behind the rest of us. But they are catching up fast, and there have been 2,500 awards totalling about £160 million. Well known organisations like Age Concern, Barnados and Cancer Relief have received lottery funds, so have many much smaller charities whose work is no less important.
When he comes to reply for the Government, I hope that my noble friend Lord Inglewood will tell us a little about the activities of the Millennium Fund as that is ministerially chaired. The noble Lord, Lord Rothschild, who chairs the National Heritage Memorial Fund and whose name I am pleased to see on the speaker's list, has made 336 awards totalling £225 million, with the money going to museums, art galleries, libraries and Churches and to the bedrock of our heritage, the land itself. The NHMF and ourselves combine from time to time. Witness the Royal Albert Hall award and the award for the marvellous opera house/art gallery in the Lowry Centre at Salford.
The arts councils, the largest of which, the one for England, I chair, has made 1,200 awards to the tune of £471 million. They include £23.5 million for film: a wholly new and welcome public contribution to a great art form and a great industry. Over 75 per cent. by number of those awards have been less than £100,000 in value, demanding 10 per cent. in matching funds only. Surely this gives the lie to perceptions that all we do is dish out "dough" in fistfuls to large and prestigious organisations. Of course we also do that, and quite right too. Britain has starved her great theatres, opera houses, concert halls, living art galleries and dance centres of investment ever since I entered my teens, which happened to be the year of the Festival of Britain. How well I remember the excitement, the optimism and the post-war revivalist spirit of 1951 which the Royal Festival Hall, the Dome of Discovery and the much missed Skylon and Battersea Fun Fair generated. How fervently I hope that the refurbishment and regeneration inherent in the South Bank's exciting lottery bid is in due course successful.
When you have spent decades trying to keep shows on the road, at the expense of investment in infrastructure, two things happen. Your overseas trade begins to suffer because however much foreign visitors admire your actors, actresses and musicians, they will not indefinitely support uncomfortable, non-air-conditioned and tatty theatres and orchestral halls. In an age of ever more sophisticated electronically packaged entertainment, catering to brows high, middle and low, it is easier to stay comfortably at home with the TV, the CD and the magic carpet of the Internet. These are all wonderful inventions capable of raising awareness and interest in all fields of endeavour. But they miss out surely on the almost erotic and life-changing encounters with living art and artists which only the public and physical arena can deliver. Your audiences for venues--and therefore your revenues--start to fall off if you start to starve the venues of investment. More seriously still, you begin to fail to generate the new encounters, the progeny, which constitute the yeasts, the gene bank of your culture, be
Brought down to earth, what this means is losses in terms of revenues, taxes and jobs. The arts in Britain are big business indeed and they repay a minute public investment a thousand times over. So when you read a snide leader in the Sun or the Daily Mail about lottery grants, or tales of "luvvies lining each other's pockets", please remember that "luvvies" of one kind or another are seeing to it that Britain is boxing above her weight in the world, to borrow a phrase beloved of the Foreign Office. The clever Mr. Murdoch and the clever noble Viscount, Lord Rothermere, are both cultivated, agreeable and talented individuals. Their publications draw a shilling, in the tabloids, from those who supposedly hate the arts, and at least sixpence, in the broadsheets, from those who love them. Remember that these gentlemen are also in the entertainment and leisure businesses. What I would like them to do is to recognise that only perhaps the Sovereign carries as much moral weight beyond our shores as our artists.
In recent years British business has come to recognise this to some degree, and I am proud to have played a small part in that. What is new and exciting is that a city council such as Gateshead believes that too. This was the council which under the visionary scheme established by my predecessor, the noble Lord, Lord Palumbo, submitted and won that brave bid for the Anthony Gormley sculpture, the Angel of the North. As a senior member of the council put it to me,
The terms of my Motion accentuate the positive. Had I more time I could continue in wholly positive vein, mentioning large awards such as the Cambridge Arts Theatre, the Hall for Cornwall and the Ikon Gallery in Birmingham; middle-scale awards such as the Green Room in Manchester, the Norwich Playhouse and the film adaptation of Thomas Hardy's The Woodlanders; and small awards such as the Warwickshire County Youth Orchestra, the Cheshire Dance Workshop and even Zippo's Academy of Circus Arts. Even more extremely, we have--God bless us--given a little money to a troupe of drum majorettes.
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