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Opera House cash criteria

THE ROYAL Opera House, Covent Garden, must have "proper" management standards as a condition for more public money, Alan Howarth, the Arts minister said.

He gave his assurance after Michael Jack, the Tory MP for Fylde, said that the December's edition of Equity magazine had exposed "a tale of financial incompetence" at the ROH, adding: "How can there be now discussion of more public funding being made available for this sorry institution?"

No switch-on date for digital

CHRIS SMITH, the Secretary of State for Culture, ruled out setting a target date for switching Britain's free television channels to digital transmission until it was sure access would be as widely available and affordable. He said: "Poor people should not be forced to pay too much for the necessary equipment."

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