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Monday, 12 March, 2001, 17:11 GMT
Liberal Democrats: Culture and media

Find out more about Liberal Democrat policies on culture and media.

Arts and culture funding is a devolved matter dealt with in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland by their respective bodies. Broadcasting regulation and the National Lottery are a Westminster matter.


ARTS FUNDING

Liberal Democrats say that they would ensure that effective arts funding would begin with giving all pupils an entitlement to arts education throughout their school careers.

It has pledged to recruit specialist art teachers, including at primary level. This includes a pledge to restore funding for free musical instrument tuition to at least 1990 levels.

Beyond schools, the party says that it would lower the cost of maintaining listed buildings by cutting VAT on renovation and repairs, paying for this through VAT on new building.

The party also wants to devolve all arts funding decisions to regional boards, except those involving national arts companies.

In the wider field of culture, the Liberal Democrats say that they want to fund free internet access in local libraries.


MEDIA

Liberal Democrats say that they want to create a single office of communications which, it says, would be flexible enough to regulate emerging communications technologies.

Cross-media regulation requires reform, the party says, to ensure that it simpler to implement but strong enough to prevent the concentration of media ownership in the hands of fewer owners.

The party says that it wants to redefine the concept of public service broadcasting in the digital age, including guarantees of free-to-air status.

The BBC would also face change, the party pledges.

The board of governors, currently appointed by the government, would be abolished and replaced by a new system devised by the new office of communications.

But the BBC would also face proper scrutiny of its accounts by the National Audit Office, the party says.


NATIONAL LOTTERY

The party says that it wants to see a new National Lottery local initiatives fund to fund institutions and public galleries.

It has pledged to restore the principle that lottery money cannot be used to fund programmes that should come through public expenditure, something the party accuses Labour of ignoring.

Liberal Democrats say that there has been far too much "political interference" in the National Lottery, both in the running of the lottery and in the allocation of the money.

The party has stated it would appoint a non-profit operator of the Lottery.

The Party believes that lottery money should be distributed by an independent body, removed from political influence, and should be targeted particularly at deprived areas.

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