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Friday, 23 March, 2001, 15:43 GMT

Labour: Culture and media

Find out more about Labour Party policy on arts, culture and the 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

Labour's big pledges for the arts are contained in a recent Green Paper, outlining 44 proposals.

Central is the promise to increase funding for the Arts Council of England by 2003/4.

Currently the Arts Council receives 252m but the party has pledged to increase funding to 337m a year within three years, a measure that was laid down in the 2000 Comprehensive Spending Review.

Included in the proposals are plans to offer new grants for individual artists, create longer funding deals for designated premier arts companies and set up regional centres of excellence.

Labour has also announced a plan which it says will end admission charges to the national museums and art galleries.

The plan works by changing rules governing VAT on museums and galleries which has favoured institutions that charge over those that do not. However, the rule changes leaves the decision on admission charges in the hands of the individual galleries and museums.


MEDIA

The main plank of Labour's media policy was put in place with its Communications White Paper in December 2000.

It proposed a new regulatory body, Ofcom, which would absorb the powers of the Independent Television Commission, the Radio Authority, Office of Telecommunications, the Broadcasting Standards Commission and Radio Communications Authority.

Labour says the new regulator will give the UK "a world lead" by allowing the industries to "act with responsible freedom" and uphold "important standards for citizens".

The White Paper also removes the obstacles preventing a single company from running the entire ITV network.


NATIONAL LOTTERY

Labour pledged in 1997 to introduce a non-profit operator for the National Lottery.

However, the incumbent operator, Camelot, has been awarded a new franchise after controversy over the way the contest between it and the People's Lottery was managed.

The government has pledged to target deprived areas in the future, saying that the early years of lottery money distribution were unequal.


SPORT

Labour says that it is committed to "a radical extension of sporting opportunities and facilities" in order to improve health, build communities and reduce the risk of the young falling into crime.

The party pledges that each pupil should be entitled to at least two hours of sport per week at school.

The party says that it has pledged to fund 200 specialist sports colleges and will continue to support elite funding for top athletes.

Profits from a Tote sold to a racing trust will go back into sport, the party says.

The party manifesto mentions funding for the planned national athletics stadium and Manchester's Commonwealth Games stadium - but it does not refer to the continuing controversy over the future of Wembley Stadium.



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