§ 27. Dr. Stross
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer to what extent under its revised constitution the Standing Commission on Museums and Galleries will be required to advise on the allocation of grants to museums and galleries; and what extension of the original terms of reference has taken place or is contemplated.
It will be open to the Standing Commission in future, as it has been in the past under its terms of reference, to advise on the purchase grants of the national museums and galleries. Its terms of reference are wide. No extension has taken place and I do not think any is called for at present.
§ Dr. Stross
With terms of reference as wide as these, is the Chancellor satisfied that the composition of the Standing Commission is such that there is enough special knowledge available of what is called the international art market?
I think so. I think the composition of the Standing Commission is very appropriate for the function it performs. I am very anxious that the Commission should have full scope for advising me on the important issues involved.
§ 44. Mr. K. Robinson
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he has yet reached any conclusion about the future level of purchase grants to the national museums and art galleries.
§ Mr. Robinson
May I take it that the Chancellor is now seized of the urgent necessity for a substantial increase in the grants and that all he is now considering is the amount of the increase? When may we expect a reply?
Answering the first part of the supplementary question, I am seized of the importance of this question and the wide interest which is taken in it. The hon. Member himself formed a part of the delegation which discussed this matter with me the other day and did his best to ensure that I was seized of the importance of it. In answer to the second part of his supplementary question I can only say, "As soon as feasible".