HC Deb 02 March 1954 vol 524 cc1002-3
38. Lieut-Colonel Hyde

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will recommend the appointment of a Royal Commission to consider and report upon the administration and public facilities of the museums and art galleries in England and Wales.

Mr. R. A. Butler

No, Sir. I am satisfied with the good work done by the Standing Commission on Museums and Galleries.

Lieut-Colonel Hyde

Will my right hon. Friend at least bear in mind the possibility of appointing such a commission because there has been some public disquiet recently, particularly in regard to the unauthorised purchase of pictures by the trustees of the Tate Gallery?

Mr. Butler

I am aware of the matter mentioned by my hon. and gallant Friend, but I do not think that the appointment of a Royal Commission is necessary.

Mr. Ede

Has the right hon. Gentle man received a communication from the Trustees of the British Museum with regard to the management of their Museum and of the Natural History Museum? When is he likely to send a reply?

Mr. Butler

So far as I am aware, the matter has not been brought to my attention in the last few days, but in response to the right hon. Gentleman's request I will make inquiries.

Mr. Grimond

Has the Chancellor of the Exchequer taken note of the implication in the Question that the galleries in Scotland and Northern Ireland are unimpeachably administered? Will he consider increasing the grant to the smaller galleries in Scotland and Northern Ire land, in view of the prices that have to be paid for works of art?

Mr. Butler

There has recently been some increase. I gave an answer on this subject recently. As regards the quality of the administration of the galleries generally, it is difficult to make these invidious comparisons.