HC Deb 19 January 1967 vol 739 cc642-3
35. Mr. Strauss

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he will amend the rules of the committee responsible for the granting and withholding of export licences for works of art so as to enable museums and London galleries to acquire important works which are not already represented in any public gallery.

The Joint Under-Secretary of State for Education and Science (Miss Jennie Lee)

I have this matter under consideration. I am most anxious that both our regional and London museums and galleries should have the fullest opportunity to acquire important works of art.

Mr. Strauss

Is my right hon. Friend aware that many important historic objects, which are part of our national heritage, are leaving this country in great quantities, although our museums which do not possess such objects are most anxious to acquire them? Does she not agree that it is therefore necessary to take early action to check this flow by giving new terms of reference to the Reviewing Committee?

Miss Lee

I would not entirely agree with the right hon. Gentleman. We are looking into this matter but we have always to bear in mind that London is a great international art-dealing centre. We have to keep a proper balance between our domestic interests and these other considerations.