HC Deb 03 November 1955 vol 545 c1206
43. Mr. K. Robinson

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if his attention has been drawn to the observations of the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art concerning the size of the annual purchase grants made to the national art collections; and whether he will increase these grants to bring them more into line with current values of works of art.

Mr. H. Brooke

I would refer the hon. Member to the Answer which my right hon. Friend gave on 1st November to the hon. Member for Sunderland, North (Mr. F. Willey).

Mr. Robinson

Does the right hon. Gentleman appreciate that the present value of the purchasing power of these grants is a mere fraction of what it was 60 or 10 years ago, and that the present system of occasional Treasury grants for special purposes is no adequate substitute for an annual grant in that it transfers to the Treasury responsibility for selection which ought to be placed in the hands of the trustees of these galleries?

Mr. Brooke

As the hon. Member knows, these grants have twice been raised recently by the present Government. As I told the House, the Chancellor has taken careful note of the advice expressed by the Reviewing Committee in its valuable Report.