HC Deb 20 November 1958 vol 595 cc1312-3
25. Mr. E. Fletcher

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he has considered the recent report of the National Gallery Trustees criticising the existing grant as paltry and derisory; and whether, in order to enable the Trustees to obtain for the nation a fully representative collection worthy of the nation, he will announce a considerable increase in the present grant of £12,500.

Mr. Simon

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to the hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent, Central (Dr. Stross) on 6th November.

Mr. Fletcher

That was before the report was published. Is not the report a further indication of the mounting indignation of the nation about the parsimonious attitude of the Tory Government towards art and culture? Does the hon. and learned Gentleman realise that an appropriate grant to the National Gallery would be more in the nature of £150,000 than £12.000?

Mr. Simon

I pointed out to the hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent, Central on that occasion that the Government had the question of purchase grants under consideration. Of course, the report of the National Gallery Trustees is one of the matters which my right hon. Friend will consider.

Mr. Anthony Greenwood

Will the Chancellor reach a conclusion before the Trustees' estimates are made obsolete by the falling value of the £?

Mr. Simon

That gives me an opportunity to point out that in the last four years about £500,000 of public money has been found for the National Gallery acquisitions by special grants and through the National Land Fund.

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