Overtures: the main parties' manifestos for the arts

Main points from Labour's document: * a national endowment for science, technology and the arts will be established with lottery money to encourage creative talent; * arts and heritage will remain permanent good causes for lottery funding which will be additional to government expenditure; * schools will be expected to publish an annual statement showing what extra-curricular arts they offer;

* higher education and vocational training in the arts and cultural industries will be reviewed; * a permanent solution to anomolies in discretionary awards will be found; * a pilot scheme for an arts card for young people to widen access to the arts will be set up; * museum charges will be reviewed; * a revitalised library service with access to the Internet will be created.

What the Conservatives would do: The 1996 policy document Setting the scene said: * each school should have an arts policy with one governor responsible for it; * the Department of National Heritage would work with the School Curriculum and Assessment Authority to increase the emphasis of the arts in the national curriculum; * inspectors will ensure greater emphasis is placed on the arts; * the Arts Council will create an Artsmark scheme to recognise good practice; * sheet music and musical instrument libraries will be created throughout the country; * lottery money will be available to pay for artists in schools and for access to theatres and galleries.

What the Liberal Democrats would do: * slim down the national curriculum to give schools more time to develop their own; * ask inspectors to monitor schools arts programmes; * establish a young arts movement, equivalent to the Duke of Edinburgh's award scheme; * extend mandatory grants to include specialist art, music, drama and dance schools and colleges; * set up a new academic body for the arts for research and provide support for regional arts boards; * immediately abolish museum and gallery charges for school parties.

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