HC Deb 24 April 1969 vol 782 cc650-1
36. Mr. Judd

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many of the largest twenty local authorities in England and Wales have no municipal museums or art galleries; and whether he will make a statement.

Miss Jennie Lee

Excluding the Greater London area where there are special circumstances affecting the pattern of museum provision, only Cardiff of the twenty largest municipal authorities in England and Wales has no museum or art gallery provided or maintained by the local authority. The National Museum of Wales is in Cardiff and this is assisted financially by the City Council. It is for each local authority authorised to provide museums or art galleries to decide whether and to what extent to do so.

Mr. Judd

Does not my right hon. Friend agree that in comparison with other European countries our provincial centres are sadly lacking in the standard of these amenities? What can be done to improve these facilities?

Miss Lee

I should like to see standards improved, and they are improving. Total expenditure by local authorities on museums and art galleries in 1967–68 amounted to £3.9 million, an increase of 13 per cent. over the previous year. The Government made a grant of £100,000 towards the cost of purchasing objects for display in those museums and galleries. The area museum councils are also being helped. We are anxious to improve standards.