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Several hon. Members rose--

Mr. Smith: I give way to my hon. Friend the Member for Blackpool, North and Fleetwood (Mrs. Humble).

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Mrs. Joan Humble (Blackpool, North and Fleetwood): Does my right hon. Friend agree that tourism initiatives, especially the industry's involvement in the new deal, will improve the quality of services that so many of our resorts, including my constituency, need to offer to their thousands of visitors, or millions, in the case of Blackpool? Greater quality in staff training and recruitment is vital to improve our tourism industry, which is why the industry welcomes Government initiatives and its involvement in the new deal.

Mr. Smith: My hon. Friend is absolutely right and I am looking forward to going to Blackpool in two months to enjoy the best that it has to offer. She is right to point out that it is quality of service that counts in the tourism industry and draws visitors back to resorts. Quality of service depends on decent remuneration, career prospects, motivation and training opportunities for staff. The tourism industry recognises that, which is why it has welcomed initiatives on the new deal, the minimum wage and the quality benchmarks that we are putting in place. That is why the Opposition, in their opposition to all those measures, are completely out of touch with modern tourism.

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: The Secretary of State has boasted a lot about the achievements that he is claiming in the arts, but he has not answered the question about the erosion of the arm's-length principle, and the extension of ministerial control into areas that had a degree of autonomy until the Government came to power. If he is so proud of his achievements in the arts, how does he account for the article written by Peter Hall as recently as a month ago, in which he says:


Mr. Smith: Well, Peter Hall has now realised that we are not in the process of destroying the arts. On Friday last week, he said the following:


for which that lot are responsible--


    "have been stopped and that the government has at last realised that there is a serious crisis in the performing arts. Every pound put into the arts will earn its money back many times over . . . I hope this is the beginning of really progressive thinking about the arts by the government".

Peter Hall recognises that it is, and the hon. Gentleman should get his facts up to date, not a month old.

Mr. Ainsworth: Unquestionably, we all want the arts to flourish in this country, but the public will be gravely disappointed when they discover that the money that the right hon. Gentleman is talking about is not as much as he claims, and that it will be, as never before, under the control of the Secretary of State instead of under the control of people in whom they can have confidence.

Mr. Smith: The hon. Gentleman is wrong on both counts. First, the money is exactly what it says it is. It is £30 million, in cash, next year, £40 million extra, in cash, the year after and £55 million, in cash, in the third year--each of those sums in addition to this year's figures. Over

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three years, it adds up to £125 million for the arts. In addition, there is £100 million for museums and galleries and £65 million for all the other activities that the Department sponsors. That adds up to the biggest enhancement ever for all the fields of cultural activity in this country. It will enable--

Mr. Bercow rose--

Mr. Smith: I am so fond of the hon. Gentleman that I shall give way.

Mr. Bercow: I am most grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for generously giving way. Does he agree with the view expressed by his hon. Friend the Minister for Sport in the debate on 5 June 1998, at column 679, that children should receive an irreducible minimum of three hours per week of physical education? If he agrees with that view, why has he downgraded physical education as part of the curriculum?

Mr. Smith: In a debate about the creative industries, we shall take no lessons from the hon. Gentleman about designer style.

My hon. Friend the Minister for Sport was expressing an ideal aspiration that he has for children. The hon. Gentleman ignores the fact that sport and physical recreation remain part of the national curriculum. They must be taught by schools. There is flexibility in when the school decides to time them in the school week, but they must be taught. They are part of the curriculum; to try to pretend otherwise is to mislead the public and the House.

Mr. Richard Spring (West Suffolk): Can the right hon. Gentleman confirm that the Secretary of State for Wales has rejected that view, and has insisted that physical education remains part of the core curriculum in Wales?

Mr. Smith: Sport and physical recreation never were part of the core curriculum. They have the same status in the curriculum as they have always had--they must be taught. That has been confirmed many times in the House by me, by my hon. Friend the Minister for Sport and by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education and Employment.

To return to the £290 million that we have made available under the comprehensive spending review over the next three years--

Mr. Ian Bruce: That is not what the right hon. Gentleman said before.

Mr. Smith: If the hon. Gentleman had been listening, he would have realised that £125 million for the arts, £100 million for museums and £65 million for other activities adds up to £290 million. I am glad that he is not an Education Minister.

The £290 million has enabled us to ensure that there will be improved access to our major national galleries and collections, with--if the trustees wish it--free entrance for all children next year, free entrance for all pensioners as well in the second year, and in the third

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year of the settlement, free entrance for all, universally. That development will be welcomed by many people around the country, although not, I expect, by the hon. Gentleman.

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: Will the Secretary of State deduct £912 million from £1,038 million? He said that Conservative Members could not do their arithmetic. The answer is £126 million. That is the figure in the Chancellor's Red Book, resulting from the comprehensive spending review, and that is the increase to which the Secretary of State referred--not £290 million, but £126 million. I am sorry to have to do the right hon. Gentleman's arithmetic for him.

Mr. Smith: The hon. Gentleman does not understand what is being done. The figure that he cited is the year 3 figure, as compared with the current figure. That indeed represents a cash-terms increase of £126 million in the third year over the current position. There are also to be increases next year and the year after. By adding up the extra money for year 1, year 2 and year 3, we get the figure of £290 million. That is additional money for the arts, museums, culture, sport and tourism that was not in the Conservative Government's plans, which would not have been spent by them and will be spent by us. That is the difference. It is real money in cash--new money--and the Conservatives cannot accept it.

We shall ensure free access to our great national collections. I would have hoped that the hon. Gentleman would welcome that, but he has not done so, because the Conservatives were the party that presided over the introduction of entrance charges. Perhaps they could have welcomed the new money that we have allocated for the designated museums of national importance around the country. They put in place the designation system, but it was meaningless, because no money came with the act of designation. We are putting the money in place to make sure that designation means something.

We are ensuring that the performing and visual arts develop new audiences and, perhaps even more important, that they develop more education sessions so that pupils have the chance to learn at first hand from people who are involved in the theatre and in music about the delights that the arts can bring. The Arts Council will have control of the money. It will be up to the Arts Council to make decisions, and I hope that it will use some of that money to keep some of our best arts organisations alive.

We have ensured that there will be enhanced funds above inflation for the British Tourist Authority. We have also ensured that extra funds will be available for the United Kingdom Sports Council to make sure that it gets off the ground well in its new form. We are ensuring that we put right the cuts that we had to make this year in the national heritage memorial fund, and we have given a guarantee of future lottery income to the arts, sport, charities and heritage.

Of course we have not said that that will be something for nothing; of course conditions must be attached. I am accused of being meddlesome, and I plead guilty to that. Presumably the Opposition would have given something for nothing. They would not have been interested in ensuring that taxpayers' money was well, efficiently and properly spent. However, that is what we are doing; that is all that we are doing. We are not dictating what happens

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to that money. We are simply ensuring that it is spent in the right way, and it is absolutely right that we should do so.


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