Letter: Ministerial squeak

Sir: Alan Howarth, the Arts Minister, has a nerve in "deprecating" Westminster Council's arts spending (letter, 13 December) when his government reduced the council's grant by pounds 26m two years ago.

Despite this, Westminster's budget for the arts remains one of the highest in the country, at just over pounds 1.3m. As well as local, community arts activity, Westminster funds national institutions such as English National Opera, English National Ballet, the ICA, Shared Experience Theatre and Wigmore Hall.

In singling out the Serpentine Gallery, he is also hopelessly out of date. Funding to the Serpentine Gallery for next year was agreed on 6 December at a 25 per cent increase on the current year.

We can do without squeaks of disapproval from an Arts Minister whose own policy is looking increasingly threadbare.

SIMON MILTON

Chairman of the Education Committee

Westminster City Council

London SW1

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