I GOT talking to a man in the pub the other day (like you do!) and our conversation strayed into the area of local government spending.

Pretty sad, eh? He expressed the view that there should be no subsidies for the Arts, that it should exist commercially like football clubs had to, that the tax payer should not have to pay for rich people to go to the theatre and concerts, that the Arts should pay their way, etc. etc.

Well, there are lots of people who hold that view. Obviously I don’t – in fact, I fundamentally disagree with just about everything he said.

Firstly, theatre and music is not the monopoly of the rich. It is for everybody. The vast majority of the thousands of people who visit the Swan and the Hall every year who love music, plays, musicals, dance and comedy are not rich, not privileged, just ordinary people like you and me.

If a firm exists to make a product, and it cannot sell that product for a profit, then there is probably no point in that firm existing. Our venues make a profit on their concerts and events, but not enough to cover all the running costs.

So what do we do? Close everything down? Not just in Worcester, but everywhere. No arts venues, no opera, no ballet, no classical music, no National Theatre, no Royal Shakespeare Company, no festivals, no galleries, no touring theatre, no producing theatre etc. etc.

The arts represent part of our deep inner needs, our inner beings. Without them, we have no soul. Now surely that’s worth subsidising.

Chris Jaeger is Director of Huntingdon Arts