Letter: Save the arts

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The Independent Online
Loud bravos for the Independent for campaigning to rescue the arts from the brink of disaster. Tax relief for individual giving would be a boon. However, it would be damaging if the Government chose to decrease arts funding as a consequence of it.

We must not adopt the American model holus-bolus. America's most renowned living playwright has been urging us for years to keep our system of government subsidy. Arthur Miller has good reason. His fascinating later plays could not find a stage at home, but our subsidised theatre premiered them.

The continuance, indeed the increase, of public subsidy for the work at the beginning of the artistic ecological chain remains essential. The American experience is that, on average, it's the safe and prestigious end of the chain which most readily attracts private money.

The Government must continue subsidising the educational and the adventurous and the community arts, and it must invest in its current policy of making all the arts financially and socially accessible. Indeed, without such enlightened investment in the grass-roots, we would not have the more obvious successes of British culture which earn so much for the Treasury at home and abroad.

PHILIP HEDLEY

Artistic Director

Theatre Royal Stratford East

London E15

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