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Sunday, November 29, 1998 Published at 17:24 GMT


Labour pandering to philistines - Stoppard

Tom Stoppard: Wants arts 100% government-funded

Playwright Tom Stoppard has attacked the government's funding of the arts, saying it is "super-sensitive" about offending the public.

The writer of plays including Arcadia and The Real Inspector Hound also said Labour should fund the arts completely.

"It seems to be the case, unfortunately, that despite the government's extremely comfortable majority, they still seem to be super-sensitive to offending the philistine sensibilities of the electorate," he told the BBC Radio 4's Broadcasting House.

"There is no question about it, the British think that the arts should, broadly speaking, look after themselves.

"It is a puzzle to me actually, because before the election, it was thought that compared to the previous government, this one would have a much more generous - we like to say, enlightened - attitude towards the arts."

[ image: Sir Peter Hall: The government has woken up to the arts]
Sir Peter Hall: The government has woken up to the arts
In July, as part of the Culture Department's spending review, £125m was set aside for the arts over the next three years.

Sir Peter Hall, former National Theatre director and a regular critic of the government, gave Labour's new approach some encouraging support.

He said: "The government has woken up to the fact that the arts exist.

"I hope that this is the beginning of really progressive thinking about the arts by the government."

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