Letter: Labour's positive stance on arts

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The Independent Online
Sir: It is frankly absurd for Andrew Marr to maintain either that the Labour Party doesn't take cultural policies seriously, or that "everyone involved in the arts" doubts Labour's commitment (Comment, 17 July).

New Labour's Road to the Manifesto identifies the economic significance of the arts, as well as their "enormous impact on education, leisure and the quality of life". They are, it says, "significant earners for Britain" and employ hundreds of thousands. This positive stance is welcomed by almost everyone I know who has any sense of ambition for Britain's cultural future.

A foretaste of the likely economic and cultural benefits such a commitment would bring can be seen in Glasgow, Birmingham, Sheffield, Newcastle and the string of other Labour-run cities where effective cultural policies have been pursued for many years. In a recent debate on the future of London, Tony Blair spoke extensively and passionately about the need for quality in both the built environment and the natural environment of our capital city. He is right, and hopefully he will be given the opportunity to prove it.

Sir DAVID PUTTNAM

Iver, Buckinghamshire

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