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'ART FOR ALL STILL OUR MISSION' SAYS MINISTER

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Arts strategy and funding in Wales need to change, says the Culture Minister, Alun Pugh, in order to ensure that ev...
Arts strategy and funding in Wales need to change, says the Culture Minister, Alun Pugh, in order to ensure that everyone in Wales has access to the arts.

Speaking after Welsh Assembly debate, Mr Pugh said: 'As a minority government, we accept we will lose votes from time to time. We will of course be respecting the view of the full Assembly.

'What this Government is about is progressive policies and the need to ensure that the tens of millions of pounds of public money we are investing in the arts touches all communities in Wales, from Valleys Communities such as Merthyr and Blaenau Gwent in the South to Flintshire and Wrexham in the North'.

During plenary the minister said:

'This is a Government that is passionate about arts, this is a Minister that is passionate about the arts. At their best the arts can connect with our emotions, challenge our understanding or have something valuable to say about the state of this nation or the world.

'Since 1999 there has been a record£181m investment in the arts and an 80% increase in the Arts Council for Wales' grant-in-aid. The Arts Council has benefited greatly - their budget was£15 million in 1999/2000. This year it is£27 million. By any standards that is a remarkable increase'.

'We now have a superb network of venues. Not just our flagship Wales Millennium Centre, but the excellent Riverfront Arts Centre in Newport, Galeri in Caernarfon, the new Mwldan in Cardigan, the plans to redevelop and refurbish the Torch Theatre in Pembroke Dock. But not all parts of our society get the benefits of this considerable investment of public money.

'We are serious about reforming our public services - pursuing progressive policies to deliver change for the people we represent.'

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