HC Deb 03 May 1972 vol 836 cc365-6
6. Mr. John Smith

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will pay an official visit to the National Galleries of Scotland.

Mr. Gordon Campbell

I make both official and unofficial visits from time to time.

Mr. Smith

When the Secretary of State next pays a visit and has to pay for entry, will he bear in mind that the total amount which will accrue to the Exchequer from imposing charges is as low as £30,000 from the National Gallery of Scotland and that in respect of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery the cost of collection is as high as 45 per cent.? Will the right hon. Gentleman agree that it is a miserable proposal to make charges and thus deter people from visiting our national galleries and museums for such pitiful sums? Will he not have the courage to say that the Government intend to drop this miserable Bill as soon as possible?

Mr. Campbell

I visited the National Gallery unofficially only the Sunday before last in order to see the recently acquired Cuyp. I saw again the Domenichino the purchase of which I authorised last year. I shall probably visit the galleries even more later on when I pay, and I shall be glad to make a contribution to such valuable collections.