HC Deb 20 November 1973 vol 864 cc1211-77

7.12 p.m.

Mr. G. R. Strauss (Vauxhall)

I beg to move, That this House considers the proposed imposition on 1st January of entrance charges to the national museums and galleries inopportune and undesirable. The motion is little more than a statement of the obvious. It is also obvious that public opinion is strongly against the charges. From the beginning the charges have been deplored, with rare exceptions, by all the trustees of all the galleries and museums concerned and by all those people, a small but influential section of our society, who care about matters of art and education.

Whatever the case for the charges may have been when they were first put forward by the Government in 1970 in the atmosphere of euphoria and folly which usually follows a General Election, there is certainly no case for them now. The House should consider itself fortunate that, as a result of a series of accidents and legal complications, the imposition of the charges has been postponed for three years. During the passage of those years the Selsdon Man philosophy that inspired them has been abandoned by the Government in its entirety. The Government no longer consider it necessarily immoral to subsidise "lame ducks" in industry, nor do they consider it wrong to subsidise some of our social activities and services.

Entrance charges to museums and galleries are now one of the few discredited survivors of this philosophy of a bygone age. It is wholly irrelevant under present conditions. But, unless the House supports the motion, the trustees of the 18 national museums and galleries affected will be forced, all of them with the greatest reluctance, to impose the charges from 1st January. It will not be because there is any statutory obligation on them to do so but because they will be ordered to do so by Lord Eccles, the "Minister for the Arts", and it is he who pays the piper.

The trustees will be ordered to take this step at a time of violent inflation. It is beyond dispute that at such a time anything that increases the price of any commodity or service, or which raises the cost of living by even a small amount, is to be deplored. The public will resent it all the more when they know, as they do, that this increase is not due to any rise in world prices for which the Government are not responsible but is a deliberate decision of the Government.

Almost daily Ministers say how anxious they are to curb inflation. They say they are doing everything possible within their powers to do so, and that in many spheres the Treasury is keeping down the cost of living by subsidies. Yet in this small but sensitive sphere the Government are doing the reverse. They are deliberately raising prices, not because that is necessary but because they want to do so in fulfilment of a principle they enunciated three years ago, directly after the General Election. It is surely indisputable that to impose the charges now, and thereby add to the inflationary pressure, is inopportune.

The argument was advanced in 1970, and may be used again tonight by Government spokesmen, that in many civilised European countries museums and galleries charge entrance fees. That is true of some of them, but not all, and it is not true of many of the great museums and galleries in the United States. As far as I am aware, all the museums and galleries in Europe that charge entrance fees have a free day every week, so that none of their country's citizens, however poor, is deprived of the joy, inspiration and stimulus derived from visiting the treasures in their galleries.

If the Government's proposals are put into effect, Britain will have the distinction of being the only country in Europe whose museums and galleries do not have such a free day, except for the British Museum, whose trustees, in spite of Lord Eccles's strong disapproval, have insisted on having one free day a week, although the museum has been made to charge double entrance fees on one other day.

Mr. Robert Adley (Bristol, North-East)

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that it is not only civilised countries in Europe that charge for admission to museums? Even in China there is an admission charge.

Mr. Strauss

I am sure that the House is grateful for that interesting but rather irrelevant bit of information.

Mr. William Hamling (Woolwich, West)

They are Bolsheviks over there now.

Mr. Strauss

What is interesting is that there is a move in Europe to do away with charges. They have already been abolished in all the museums and galleries in Rotterdam, and in many in Antwerp, and the same thing is happening among enlightened local authorities in Great Britain.

The Greater London Council has this year abolished entrance charges at Ken-wood and Marble Hill House. One of the reasons for doing this—I hope the House will note—was the marked effect that entrance charges were having on attendance figures. At Kenwood in 1968–69, the last year of free entrance, the total attendance was 227,000. That dropped to 203,000 the following year and 152,000 the year after. Last year the figure was back to 180,000 mainly because of the special exhibitions which were held there and the extensive and intensive advertising attached to them. At Marble Hill House the attendance dropped from 31,000 before charges were imposed to 6,000, and now it has crept back slowly to 18,000.

Other figures indicate convincingly that entrance charges deter the public from going to galleries and museums. We have been told throughout that that is the last thing the Government want, but it is bound to happen if entrance charges are made.

Last year there was a large drop in the numbers of people visiting the National Gallery. In June, July and August the figures of attendance fell by 53,000. The gallery authorities have reason to believe that this was partly due to the general and widespread belief that entrance charges had already been imposed and were in force. They therefore put up a notice outside the gallery stating that admission was free, and there was an immediate increase in attendance. The next month, September, the figure rose by 37,000.

Governments have frequently told us that existing or even increased charges have not deterred the public from visiting Hampton Court, the Tower of London, and similar attractions on the established tourist routes. No one disputes this. But we are concerned with something quite different. Our great cultural and historic treasure houses, where the finest examples of British, European and, indeed, world art are on view, are places where people drop in casually maybe out of simple curiosity, in search of aesthetic satisfaction or stimulation, call it what one will. At these places attendances are bound to drop if charges are imposed, even if certain exemptions are made. That is inevitable.

It seems that the only serious argument ever advanced by the Government during the long and frequent discussions that we have had on this subject is that the cost of maintaining museums and galleries has risen, that it will rise further, and that it is, therefore, not unreasonable to ask those who visit these places to make their contribution. In fact, I suggest it will be utterly unreasonable as well as anti-social to do so.

Museums and galleries are part of our educational equipment, and any charge on entry to the galleries and museums is a charge on people enjoying our educational arrangements. Galleries and museums form an important part of our educational equipment. The costs of all other sections of our educational activities have been rising equally—schools and free libraries—but the Government are not asking the beneficiaries of these other parts of our educational arrangements to make a special contribution to the Treasury.

Why, then, have the Government picked on this one section alone? I do not know. I hope that the Secretary of State will answer that question. However, I ask the House to notice this important point. The amount of money that will be raised by accepting this principle of charging is derisory and has no relationship whatever to the cost of maintaining the museums and galleries.

According to an answer that I received from the Secretary of State recently, the net income, after deducting the heavy costs which average 16 per cent., would be £900,000 a year. Government expenditure, I was also told, on the national museums and galleries for maintenance and special purchase grants amounts to £23 million a year. So the charges will reimburse no more than 4 per cent. of Government expenditure. Is it really worth while imposing entrance charges to raise this derisory sum?

If, as is suggested in today's papers, the Government propose to make a last-minute concession and exempt children and old-age pensioners from these charges, there will be a further drop in the income, which will amount to no more than about £700,000—equivalent to a 3 per cent. reimbursement of Government expenditure on national museums and galleries.

I ask again: is it really worth while stopping our tradition of free access to our museums and galleries to get in this paltry amount? The answer obviously is "No".

Mr. W. R. Rees-Davies (Isle of Thanet)

Will the right hon. Gentleman answer one question which is directly pertinent to what he is putting? If the £1 million, or whatever it is, that is envisaged as being collected were specifically appropriated to secure the benefit of the layout, improvement and purchasing grant of the respective museums, would he agree that that would be a worthwhile objective?

Mr. Strauss

I understand that that is one of the proposals that will be suggested by the Government as a concession to stave off the opposition of some of their supporters. I want to know what that proposal is. Will it mean that the museums and galleries will get an extra £1 million a year for the trustees to do with what they like, or will it mean a reduction of an equivalent amount in the grant of aid that the Government are giving to the museums and galleries? I cannot express any opinion on that.

Mr. Patrick Cormack (Cannock)

It it means the former, an extra £1 million or whatever it is for the museums, would the right hon. Gentleman then feel able to support it?

Mr. Raphael Tuck (Watford)

Take a look at the road fund.

Mr. Strauss

If it were a net total addition it would to some extent modify one's opposition. However, I should still strongly oppose the principle of charging people to go into our museums and Galleries. That is bound to discourage many people who would enjoy going there from doing so.

I am against getting money from museum visitors even if it goes back to the museums for the trustees to dispense how they like. However, we shall see.

One of the strongest objections to the proposed charges is that they will be blatantly divisive. They will in no way deter wealthy people or those who are reasonably well-to-do from enjoying the museums and galleries. The damage will be confined to the poor. That is the section of the community that will suffer. Does the Secretary of State really consider that it is right in our society that any of our people should be deprived through poverty of the opportunity of seeing their national and cultural treasures?

There is one argument in favour of these charges which I think has now been abandoned and which I mention only because it has had the distinguished support of the Prime Minister, who advanced it in the House in answer to a supplementary question which I put to him some time ago. The right hon. Gentleman then told us that his musical education had been helped by attending concerts at the Albert Hall and that he valued these all the more because he had to pay an entrance charge. However, he made no mention of those many young people whose love and knowledge of music and potential talent might have been equally stimulated if they, too, had attended these concerts but were unable to do so as they had not got the money to pay to go in. Apparently he had no sympathy for them. I believe that the Prime Minister is now almost the only member of the Government who enthusiastically supports the idea of entrance charges.

I understand that the Secretary of State will try to conciliate some of her supporters by making a number of minor concessions, while leaving intact the principle of charging. I am told that those concessions are likely to be exemption from charges on children and old-age pensioners. These exemptions have been strenuously opposed by the Government throughout the battle that we have had on these museum charges, and we have been told that they would be impossible to make. We have been told that if these exemptions were effected the amount of money that would accrue to the Government as a result of the charges would be so small that they would hardly be worth while. That argument is right. If these people are exempted—and we have tried to get them exempted but we have been told that it is impossible—the proposal to impose charges at all becomes more and more indefensible and ridiculous.

The net income deriving from the charges would then be nearer £700,000 than £900,000. Again I ask whether it is worth while doing all this and breaking our tradition of free entrance to our museums. Is it worth breaking our country's proud tradition for such a paltry and irrelevant amount? This tradition has been under sentence of death for three years. Tonight we have an opportunity of effecting a last-minute reprieve. If we do not do so, on 1st January, for the first time in our history, the barriers will go up at the doors of these museums and galleries and all those who feel that they cannot afford to pay entrance charges, and all the usual casual visitors, will be excluded.

We therefore invite the House to say that that is wrong and undesirable. We invite the House to say that it shall not happen and to declare, in the words of the motion, that the imposition of these charges on 1st January would be "inopportune and undesirable".

7.32 p.m.

The Secretary of State for Education and Science (Mrs. Margaret Thatcher)

I rise to oppose the motion. As the right hon. Member for Vauxhall (Mr. Strauss) knows, we have been over much of the ground over and over again, particularly during the Committee stage of the Museums Bill, and I think he will agree that my hon. Friend the Member for Wokingham (Mr. van Straubenzee) answered all the points with his unfailing thoroughness and courtesy. I do not wish to go over them all again, and I shall try to answer some of the points made by the right hon. Gentleman, but I feel that before doing so I must correct one wrong statement.

The right hon. Gentleman said that if charges are imposed at museums and galleries it will be the first time in our history that this has been done. That is not so. Charges were imposed at many museums and galleries before 1945, and some charges were abolished in that year. I think that the right hon. Gentleman would wish me to correct his statement, and now I shall, if I may, reply to some of the points that he made.

Mr. Strauss

The right hon. Lady said that my statement about charges was inaccurate. It can be called that, but that is not strictly true. What happened was that for a few years charges were imposed at a few museums and galleries on two days a week for the purpose of keeping out visitors and keeping the galleries free for students. If the right hon. Lady's purpose is to keep visitors out of the galleries, she is justified in carrying out her policy. The previous charges were imposed for a short period for the purpose of excluding people on those days. That was what was done, and it was highly regrettable.

Mrs. Thatcher

My purpose was merely to correct a wrong statement made by the right hon. Gentleman, who said that if charges are imposed now it will be the first time that this has happened. That is not true.

The Government propose to introduce entrance charges as a contribution towards the large sums of new money which the national galleries and museums need, and these demands have to be considered alongside those of other arts, such as drama and music, where the audience contribute about half the cost. In 1969–70, Government assistance for the arts in general was £22 million, and of that sum £13 million was spent on the national museums and galleries. In 1973–74 the total spent on the arts, including £6 million for land adjacent to the Royal Opera House, is estimated at £49.8 million, of which £23 million will be spent on museums.

That is an increase for the museums of £10 million compared with 1969–70, but even so it is not enough, and for four reasons. The first is that, in general, attendances have been rising every year, due to the growth of secondary and higher education and the tremendous increase in the number of tourists from abroad. Even now, most of the museums are not adequately equipped to deal with the numbers at the peak season, and once a gallery is overcrowded visitors cannot study the objects and enjoy them as they should.

Secondly, the costs of conservation, display and security of the collections increase every year. This year, we calculate that the actual cost for every visitor will be about £1.25 per head. We cannot mechanise museums. If all the modern techniques of conservation, air conditioning, display and information are fully used with adequate space and amenities for the public, the costs will rise much faster than the revaluation which is allowed for the effects of inflation. Indeed, the £10 million extra per year is already an indication of that fact.

Thirdly, it is not enough because the schools are finding the museums very valuable as aids to the teaching of history, art, archaeology and science. Teachers need help to make use of museums, and children need to be allowed rooms in which they can handle objects and learn about the collections. Fourthly, the sums are not yet enough because the provincial museums badly need more help from the nationals by way of advice, loans and conservation, and that again will add to the cost of the nationals.

Although the Government have been most generous in giving extra money to the museums, my noble Friend the Paymaster-General still feels that it is not enough to do all the things that we would wish to do to bring the pleasures of the museums to the people who should enjoy them.

Mr. John Gorst (Hendon, North)

On the matter of provincial museums, does it make sense, for example, for a levy to be charged at the Ulster Museum when the result of the collection in it may be no more than equal to the expense of collecting it?

Mrs. Thatcher

I cannot answer for the Ulster Museum. My hon. Friend should take the matter up with one of my hon. Friends from the Northern Ireland Office. The cost of wages at national museums is borne by the Department of the Environment.

The Government have either to postpone what should be done in the museums or enable the money to be found. The museums themselves are increasingly appealing to private donors and to bodies such as the "Friends of the Museum" the National Art Collections Fund and National Heritage. The museums now charge up to 50p entrance for a special exhibition, against half that sum only a few years ago. They do this because the increased expenses are so clear and unavoidable. The expense of maintaining their permanent collections has risen in the same way, and that is why the Government have decided that there ought to be a small entrance charge as a contribution to these services. The entrance charges which we propose are very reasonable, given the size of the museums' needs and the requirements of the other arts which are met partly by subsidy and partly by contribution from the users.

The right hon. Gentleman mentioned inflation. I have already said that the amount which goes to the museums is far greater than the inflationary amount. Equally, the charges that are proposed have not gone up with the index of wages and salaries. The index of wage rates in October 1970, the very date which the right hon. Gentleman mentioned as that on which it was proposed to put on charges, was 110.6. For August 1973 the index of wage rates was 153.9. That makes the entrance charges proposed even more modest compared with the increased salaries and wages that are available to pay them.

It has been difficult to get across to some of those who have opposed charges just how large the needs of the museums are and how difficult it is to find extra resources when all the other arts are in the queue and their users are already paying a much higher proportion of the cost of supporting them. The Government therefore considered that these needs could be met more easily over a shorter period with some contribution from the visitor. We had proposed to place the proceeds in a pool to be used in accordance with the most urgent priorities.

This has led to the erroneous suggestion that the Treasury would take the £1 million and give nothing back. To dispel this idea, we are ready to allow each museum to keep the proceeds of the charges, less the value added tax, and to use that money for agreed purposes, other than for acquisitions, which are cared for by the quinquennial grant. This is a change in our arrangements which we know has been much wanted by the museums and galleries and it will make it clear to everybody that they are to benefit directly from the charges.

Mr. Jeffrey Archer (Louth)

My right hon. Friend will realise that this is a most important point to those of us who have been against these charges from the beginning, and it may not be enough for us to come back and join the Government. If the money goes back, will that mean that those galleries which are receiving a grant will have their grant cut in any way or will they continue to have exactly the same amount plus the proceeds from the turnstiles?

Mrs. Thatcher

On the whole, if museums and galleries had exactly the same grant as in the previous year, even in updated terms, they would be much worse off than they are already. The best way to illustrate this is to say that it is money that they will have available in hand for minor works, which are for them to decide. When I said "for agreed purposes" I mentioned the quinquennial grant for purchases. But we also have a ceiling on the numbers of people we must not exceed. It was that kind of thing that I had in mind the money that they receive they will keep to enable them to do minor works. It is specifically money in the hand.

The capital programmes for museums are subject to the same conditions as other capital programmes in my Department, in health and in local government. They are of course subject to the state of the economy for the time being, but that is no different from any other Department.

Mr. Cormack

This is a point of crucial significance to at least half a dozen Members on this side. Does this mean, without any equivocation, that the money received from entrance charges will be additional to any other sums voted for acquisition?

Mrs. Thatcher

Acquisition has nothing to do with this money. This money cannot be used for acquisition, but the grant is determined quinquennially and will continue to be determined in that way.

Turning now to some of the right hon. Gentleman's other remarks, I do not believe that the modest charges proposed, of lop for an adult and 5p for pensioners and children, will deter people from visiting museums. The frequent visitor will be able to buy a season ticket admitting him to all the 18 national museums and galleries for a year for £1, or 50p in the case of a pensioner or a child.

The statistics that we have of attendances at the national museums and galleries are not very reliable, because until there is an entrance charge the counting of visitors is uncertain. However, we know accurately the figures for museums and historic places which make a charge. From the general trends of both sets of figures, it is clear that attendances at museums which charge are rising just as fast as, and sometimes faster than, attendances at those which are free.

I have a whole list. I cannot possibly read all the names, but one of the most telling is that for the National Museum of Wales, which is free, and also the Welsh Folk Museum, for which charges are imposed. At the National Museum, where entrance is free, the attendances have fallen substantially from 1970 to 1972. For the Welsh Folk Museum, where the charges are lop for adults, and 5p for children, attendances have risen over 1970, 1971 and 1972—[HON. MEMBERS: "What are the figures?"] It would take a long time to give the figures, but that is the reverse of the point made by the right hon. Gentleman.

There are other museums at which charges have been imposed. At Norwich Museum, attendances have risen, as they have at Barnard Castle—

Dr. Tom Stuttaford (Norwich, South)

Would my right hon. Friend agree that in many museums and art galleries, particularly that of Norwich, which is often quoted, there is a totally free day each week, and that this day is never taken into consideration when the costs and charges on other days are assessed?

Mrs. Thatcher

May I come to the free day argument later? At Barnard Castle and the Bowes Museum attendances have also increased. At the Beaulieu Palace and Motor Museum, where charges are 35p for adults and half that amount for children, attendances have risen substantially.

At some museums which are free—the right hon. Member mentioned the National Gallery—for a time attendances went down, and at others where there are charges, like the British Museum, attendances went up. Over the whole range, where charges are levied, attendances have been rising every bit as fast as, and in some cases faster than, those where admission is free. It seems from that fact that people are prepared to go to museums which charge when they have something that the people want to see and display it attractively.

Mr. Charles Loughlin (Gloucestershire, West)

I am trying to follow the right hon. Lady's argument. She says that it is difficult to determine the number of people who visit museums which are free, yet she makes a comparison between those figures and the figures for museums at which a charge is made. How does she arrive at the first set of figures?

Mrs. Thatcher

There are spot checks from time to time—some museums do them more frequently than others—and then the figures are grossed up. That is in the case of those which do not charge. If one gives exact figures in those cases, the exactitude is misleading, but one has a general idea from the trend. Also, a specific survey has been carried out in a few museums. My point is that the evidence we have is that charges do not deter and that where there are charges attendances can often increase when the museums are showing what people want to see.

There are, of course, reliable figures of visitors for such places as the Tower of London, which charges. I know that the right hon. Gentleman does not want me to raise this matter, because it is much too strong an argument against his case. It is interesting because the facts show how little there is in the Opposition's new enthusiasm for free entry.

In March 1970 the Labour Government doubled the charges at the Tower from 10p to 20p. I do not remember any voice raised in protest and there was not a Question in this House. If there had been a protest it would have been ill-founded, because in 1969, the last year of charges at 10p, the number of visitors was 2.3 million, whereas in 1972, after the increase, the number was 2.7 million. This year it will probably be over 3 million. People pay to see something they want and they take their children. The Tower is also a great attraction for the children. I must confess that I envy the capacity of the last Government to raise charges with virtually nil protest.

The second point is the argument about our national heritage. It is said that the great masterpieces which illustrate our heritage ought on principle to be shown to the public free. Whatever may be included in a national heritage, it is certain that buildings are among the foremost glories of the past. No one has ever suggested that the public should visit free our historic palaces, castles, abbeys and other buildings. The Tower of London and Hampton Court are examples. The buildings are themselves without equal in our history. The Tower also contains a fine collection of armour and the Crown Jewels. A separate entrance charge is made for the jewels over and above the 20p entrance charge to the Tower. No one complains about either charge. No principle is broken when collections of objects, whether British or foreign in origin, are seen on payment of a charge.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland will be dealing later with two points which arise in Scotland in connection with the will of Mr. Henry Vaughan and the Torrie Collection. No wills or bequests need to be altered. My right hon. Friend will deal with these in more detail, but it may be helpful if I mention the matters about the Vaughan will briefly now.

The Trustees of the National Gallery of Scotland have, at the National Gallery at the Mound, a collection of Turner drawings bequeathed to their predecessors under the 1887 will of Mr. Henry Vaughan. One of the conditions of the bequest was that the drawings in the collection should be exhibited all at one time to the public free of charge in January of each year. This requirement will be met after the introduction of charges by free admission to the National Gallery in Edinburgh at the Mound during January.

Other conditions include the requirement that the drawings be exhibited to the public and copied subject to the same rules and regulations as the Turner drawings at the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.

My right hon. Friend will be dealing with this point more fully later; but to meet both the interpretations of that phrase which have been put forward he has asked the Trustees of the National Galleries of Scotland to make arrangements to ensure that interested members of the public, who wish to see the Turner drawings and do not wish to see any other collections at the National Gallery, have free admission to the Turners in months other than January. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] Those are the conditions. The Turners have to be kept away from the light for the greater part of the year. They are shown only during one month in the year. They are then kept in a cabinet. That is why they are kept subject to such strict conditions. To show them all the time would destroy the pictures. In the Fitzwilliam Museum they are kept in a cabinet, I believe, the whole year round, and people who want to see them, for copying or for exhibiting, visit the museum and they are taken out of the cabinet for them to copy or exhibit. But to show them all the year round would destroy the heritage which it is wished to preserve.

Mr. John Smith (Lanarkshire, North)

I quote from a letter from the director of the Fitzwilliam Museum to the Scottish Education Department, in which he said: There has never been any bar, either to students or to members of the public at large, to seeing the drawings on any day of the year that the museum is open to the public. That is free access every day, and not to something locked up in a drawer.

Mrs. Thatcher

I am sorry, but they have to be kept in a cabinet to preserve them. They are not kept on show. It is exactly what I am saying. They will be displayed for one whole month at the Mound, and then returned to their cabinet. When they are in that cabinet, people who wish to see them or to copy them can go, by special arrangement, to look at them, to take them out of the cabinet, exactly as they can in the Fitzwilliam Museum. But to have them on display for the whole year would destroy the very thing that one wishes to preserve. In the Fitzwilliam Museum they are in a cabinet the whole year round. I am glad to have cleared up that point.

The right hon. Member for Vauxhall raised the matter of free days. There are very different arrangements about free times to see the museum collections. I have already mentioned the position in that particular gallery in Scotland, where things will be displayed free for the whole month of January. Arrangements have so far been agreed with the trustees as follows: at the National Gallery, a free day on Wednesday, balanced by doubling of the normal adult charge on Tuesdays and Thursdays; at the Tate Gallery, free admission from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, the cost being met by the trustees own funds; at the National Gallery of Scotland and the National Museum of Antiquities of Scotland, free Saturdays from mid-September to mid-June, balanced by a doubling of the normal adult charge from mid-June to mid-September; that is, two weeks extended at each end of the normal high charge period.

In addition, at the National Gallery at the Mound, the Turner drawings will be open free during January, and discussions are continuing with the Wallace Collection. So in many cases there are already arrangements for free access.

Mr. Ernle Money (Ipswich)

This matter is of the deepest concern to many hon. Members on the Government side of the House, particularly as the whole sum involved in the surcharge for the free day is merely £60,000, and £3,000 in the case of the Wallace Collection. Can my right hon. Friend give an assurance that the Government have not closed their minds to the possibility of putting our museums on the same basis as every major museum in Europe and of allowing a free day without a surcharge? If my right hon. Friend can say, at any rate, that this matter will be kept open and considered, that will help—

Mr. Andrew Faulds (Smethwick)

Come off it

Mr. Money

Be quiet. If my right hon. Friend can say that, it will be of great importance to many of my hon. Friends.

Mrs. Thatcher

It is difficult to be as precise as my hon. Friend has been about the amounts involved in view of the unreliability of the statistics of the national museums and galleries. We have negotiated the arrangements that I have described with the trustees, and we should have to look at it again with them. My hon. Friend will bear in mind that now that they can keep the entrance charges that they have as money in the hand, they may be very willing and anxious to have the money from charges to do the things which they want to do in their galleries. When charges are imposed we shall know a good deal more about their operation, and we shall then certainly look at the matter again in conjunction with the museums without any binding commitment but with an open mind.

What is absolutely clear is that the museums will be able to retain the money that they get from charges as money in the hand to enable them to do a number of things that they want to do. This may well alter their attitude considerably.

Mr. Gorst


Mr. Guy Barnett (Greenwich)

Will the right hon. Lady give way?

Mrs. Thatcher

I have given way already, but I shall give way to the hon. Member for Greenwich (Mr. Guy Barnett), who was a member of the Committee.

Mr. Barnett

It was I who moved the amendment on the specific point, both in Committee and on Report. When I moved it, in the speech made from the Government Front Bench by the hon. Member for Wokingham (Mr. van Straubenzee), to whom the right hon. Lady has referred, he gave as an argument against it that it would be very unfair as between one museum or gallery which got a very high attendance and another museum which, because it was specialist or something like that, got a very low attendance. That was the argument given to me as a conclusive one against the very thing that the right hon. Lady is proposing.

Mrs. Thatcher

I hope the hon. Member is now pleased with the new arrangements, as I am certain a number of my hon. Friends are.

Another view is that these museums and galleries which will keep the charges are clearly offering what the public want and may, therefore, have greater need of the money to do more minor works and ultimately perhaps to carry out more major works than some of the others.

Mr. Gorst

I understand fully that museums which make a charge and can keep it will in some way benefit, but will my right hon. Friend explain what happens where the cost of collection is not met and there is a shortfall? Who will pay for this?

Mrs. Thatcher

On the present arrangements we expect gross receipts of £1.2 million. There will be something off for value added tax, but because the museums and galleries are registered traders they will recollect some of the VAT from the purchase of goods and services and it is, therefore, expected to be a neutral factor. On the whole we expect museums and galleries to benefit to the extent of about £1.1 million in retained charges. The cost of collection, of staff and so on, is borne on the Department of the Environment Vote.

This debate is not about charges in isolation, nor is it about increasing the revenue by £1 million a year. It is about the future of the national museums with which my right hon. and noble Friend the Paymaster-General is so much concerned. He more than any other Minister has made us aware of the immense potentialities of our museums if the resources can be found. Charges will directly contribute to speeding up improvements that we all want. If we do not have the charges we cannot have the same rate of expansion and therefore—

Mr. Hamling


Mrs. Thatcher

We have had a bigger rate of expansion under this Government than under any previous Government, as all my hon. Friends accept. If we do not have charges we cannot have the same rate of expansion and, therefore, we cannot serve the public by displaying our treasures as we would wish. I therefore call upon the House to reject the motion.

Mr. Strauss


Mr. Deputy Speaker (Sir Robert Grant-Ferris)


Mr. Strauss

Will the Secretary of State give way?

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. I believe the right hon. Lady has sat down.

Mrs. Thatcher

I have given way so much.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Mr. Grimond.

8.3 p.m.

Mr. J. Grimond (Orkney and Shetland)

Whatever this debate is about, it cannot be about the future of the great national collections and museums. They cannot depend upon the sort of sum that the charges will bring in.

When I first thought about this matter I was not a passionate opponent of charges. I am aware that in many continental countries museums and galleries inflict charges and the sky does not fall. I am aware that this country spends £3,000 million a year on drink and £1,800 million on tobacco, and therefore it may be said that people have enough money to pay for visits to their galleries. But the more I have listened to the debate the stronger has grown my feeling that this is a trivial, mean and miserable charge which should be resisted.

It is, of course, the last vestige of the Tory election policy. It is a very small vestige. There have been no great demonstrations against it. Force has not been used and, therefore, the Tories have clung on to it as the last remnant of a policy which was to have killed the lame ducks and encouraged fierce private enterprise. In its present form it makes no sense because it is quite irrelevant to any general policy in the country.

The arguments used for this charge today seem to me singularly unconvincing. We are asked to believe that £900,000 will keep going this great expansion in the amount available for the arts. That does not make mathematical sense. We are asked to believe that concertgoers will mind very much if people are admitted free to galleries. I do not believe in this picture of concert queues demanding that entrance charges should be put on the great national collections. We are asked to believe that these concessions today are made to reason and to argument. We know that they have been made to pacify the backbenchers and they have nothing to do with the reasons put forward by the Opposition.

Mr. Strauss

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the concession which was expected on the back benches, that children and old-age pensioners should be exempted from the charges, has not been made by the Government?

Mr. Grimond

I agree, and the concessions are very strange. It is said that the money will be available to the museums and galleries, but it has never been made clear whether it will be made available in addition to what would otherwise have been given. If it is in addition, it is no contribution to the burden on the Exchequer. It has no relevance to keeping down the expense of running the galleries or of contributing towards their expansion.

But there is something very mean and miserable about the charge. It may be that other countries get on perfectly well with charges and there may be charges in the Tower of London, but let us have something in this country which is free and generous. I have also been influenced by the history of this matter in Scotland. I refer to the Vaughan collection. There is no doubt that the Government would have enforced the charges all the year round every day upon the National Gallery in Scotland if that had been possible. They were tripped up over the Vaughan collection but, instead of giving way and saying that people who give their collections free to the nations should have their memory honoured not only in deed but in spirit, they are trying to get round this will. Are those who are taken to this famous cabinet of Turner pictures in the remaining 11 months to be blindfolded in case they should catch a free glimpse of the other pictures? It seems inconceivable that the Secretary of State for Scotland, who is an honourable man, should allow himself to be drawn into this subterfuge. Does he think that future donors will be encouraged to give their collections to the nation when they see how their predecessors have been dealt with?

The Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. Gordon Campbell)

During the whole of January the public will have free access to the gallery. For the remaining 11 months the will states that the pictures should not be displayed.

Mr. Grimond

I am aware that they are not exposed to the sunlight but I refuse to believe that the Vaughan collection, the Torrie collection or the Maitland collection were left to the nation on the understanding, tacit or implicit, that they would not be freely available to those who wanted to see them. I ask the Secretary of State to believe that, if that is the case, the major part of the Scottish national collection, the Ellesmere pictures, will be threatened, and if they were withdrawn that would constitute a disaster. It would be a disaster if the Turners had to be sold and it may be that this may still have to happen. I ask the Government to consider, for the sake of this tiny sum of money, whether what they are doing is wise. Look at what Mr. Leggatt is saying in the papers, and he is not the only one. Do they not fear that for the sake of clinging to the remants of their old policy they may be having a disastrous effect on those who may want to make great contributions to our galleries?

I am a heretic in the matter of giving indefinite quantities of money to galleries to acquire new pictures. Some galleries are already too big. The Prado, I understand, acquires no new pictures because it has enough. Many people have raised large sums of money to buy pictures but I believe that in many cases the money would be better served preserving buildings that would otherwise be destroyed. The pictures will always be saved. The right policy in this country is, by all means, to encourage bequests. There are a great many pictures which could still be left to the nation, either to the galleries on in the great stately homes. The great Bolognese collections of pictures have so far remained in this country.

But as for new money for the galleries, I would prefer that this went to buildings to make sure that the pictures in the galleries are shown. It is something of a scandal that so many pictures are not shown. I am horrified to find in so many galleries that many of the pictures are not available to the public. I know that it is not a national collection, but the last three times I have been at the Glasgow Kelvingrove gallery—which is a magnificent gallery—the "Glasgow Boys" were not on exhibition.

I do not believe that the Government should encourage galleries to spend sums like the £1 million which was spent on "Diana and Actæon", when there are plenty of Titians in the National Gallery and pictures in the basement. I am unmoved by the arguments about research—although I quite agree that a man such as Gombrich or Denis Mahon makes a great contribution to art appreciation—about prestige or about stamp collecting to complete a set or fill a gap.

Mr. Money

Does the right hon. Gentleman agree that one of the important points which has been made by my right hon. Friend today is that the money from the authorities will in no way go towards acquisition grants but will go to something on which he has not yet touched, which is conservation and minor works, which are very important in order to show the works of art which the galleries already have?

Mr. Grimond

Yes, but I do not understand what the money is to be used for, because apparently on the one hand it is to be used at the discretion of the trustees of the gallery and on the other hand it is to go to minor works. But it is such a small sum that it is monstrous that our tradition of free access to pictures should be bedevilled by it. Of course, too, the smaller provincial galleries are the ones which would have the smallest surplus. It is the London galleries which have a substantial surplus. In the smaller galleries most of the money will be used in collecting the charge.

I know that the right hon. Lady has said that the Government will pay for collection, but this makes nonsense of the whole procedure. I understand that the intention is to take some weight off the Exchequer, but it will take no weight off the Exchequer if the whole weight of those expenses is borne by the Exchequer. Therefore, the policy should be to ensure that the pictures are shown free, and donors should be encouraged to give their pictures, their furniture and their works of art to the nation as they have done in the past, to become the property of the nation and to be seen and enjoyed by the nation and not to be paid for. At the same time we ought to spend more money on the living arts. Our contribution to the Arts Council is minuscule. We have these marvellous collections, many of which are big enough.

Certainly, by the argument which has gone on over the years, I have been converted to the view that this is a most extraordinary move on the part of the Government which by their own showing makes no sense, it is a petty imposition, it will make no difference to the Exchequer, but it may deter certain potential donors from giving, because they will feel that future Governments may well have a different sort of fiddle and get round their wills, even if in this case the Government may have been quite ingenious. A great many people—even with a season ticket—of whom I am one, do not want to spend four or five hours at a time in an art gallery, finding that exhausting, but like to drop in to see these paintings from time to time for half an hour. There are quite a lot of poorer people who will not pay 10p for that and I have some sympathy with them.

8.16 p.m.

Mr. Jeffrey Archer (Louth)

I rise, as I have done since we first debated this matter three years ago, to say that I am opposed to museum charges. I am opposed on many grounds, on some of which I had hoped that my right hon. Friend would be giving way. I wish to mention those grounds, because if the Government find it possible to give way on them I shall find it possible to support the Government, but if they are unable to give way I shall find it impossible to support the Government.

I should like to make a small political point. There is nothing to be gained, when one is a back bencher on the Government side, from being very clever at bringing the Government down. Even if one is very much against a certain measure, if one can get the necessary concessions one can quite honourably go into the Division Lobby with one's own party. What I shall ask for can well be given by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland when he makes the final speech. If I were in opposition as a Labour Member I should have no hesitation in going into the Lobby against the entire Act, and I hope that Opposition Members will understand the difference between being a back bencher in government and a back bencher in opposition, which is partly that I anticipate remaining in my position for some years.

The first ground on which I hoped that my right hon. Friend would help us is the old and the young. The major point which I should like to get over to her is that, whenever charges are made in any other country, there are exemptions for students. This year I took the trouble to go to Florence, which has 18 galleries, and Rome, which has six galleries, and watched what happened. Without exception there were two queues, one for students and one for those who paid the full amount. The students showed their students' cards and went in. It would seem easy for us in this country to do the same. That would mean that the whole group of those who fall within the educational class could get into the galleries free of charge. I had hoped that the Secretary of State for Education and Science would support us in this respect. If she makes us go into the Division Loby tonight without any support for the young, that will make it very hard to support her.

Then there are the old people. There is a group of people in this country who cannot afford certain luxuries, and there is a feeling among some of us on these benches—I have heard it from my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Social Services—that perhaps the wisest course is to give a bigger pension so that they can have more. I understand that argument, which is a philosophical argument used on this side but not on the Labour side. But at the end of the day, if the elderly have been given certain privileges all their lives, it is unpleasant to have to pay for them, especially in these times. I hope, therefore, that the Secretary of State for Scotland will also talk about the old people.

I was delighted, as were many of my hon. Friends, at the concession which my right hon. Friend has given us in regard to money returning to the galleries. That was a big step which we appreciate. If, however, one is totally honest and cynical, one must admit that that almost breaks down the whole purpose of the Bill and makes it slightly ridiculous, in the sense that we shall now have a charge collected, a charge delivered and a charge redelivered, which seems a pity. But it is a concession, and we accept it as such and are also most thankful.

Lord Eccles very kindly agreed that if the young came in groups, they could gain admission free of charge, and I am sure that the Secretary of State for Scotland will mention this as a reason for not letting the young in individually. If 24 are gathered together in the name of the noble Lord, they can go in free of charge.

Mr. Hamling

Eccles parties.

Mr. Archer

I hope that my right hon. Friend will reconsider the young and the old.

My next point concerns the free day. Why can we not have a free day? If it is a Monday, the children, the old people and all the students can go in without payment that day, but there can be a charge on the other days. But to find an excuse for doubling the payment on certain days, in certain areas or in certain circumstances makes it very hard for us to believe that the free day really is free. We want just one free day a week, so that all the groups about whom we feel strongly can get in.

I ask the Government to reconsider before half-past nine. If we could have the sort of situation for which I have asked, I should find myself able to support them. That would not be a situation of being hanged, drawn and quartered, because we should have overcome the drawing and the quartering even if we still remain hanged.

I wish to make two points in favour of the Government, who are in trouble over the Bill. It would be hypocritical simply to punish the Government. One thing which we Conservative Members can be proud of is that we have upped the grant and allowances to all parts of the arts. We can face anybody on the Labour benches on that matter.

If I have one criticism of the Opposition—I say this with great respect to the right hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Grimond)—it is this. If we had had the support of the Liberal Party on Second Reading this legislation would not be on the statute book. This has hurt many of us who have fought from the beginning and who have not recently jumped on the bandwagon. When we fought over this matter I remember that there were one or two of us in the Chamber on the right side of the fight. I remember that the right hon. Member for Vauxhall (Mr. Strauss), the hon. Member for Smethwick (Mr. Faulds) and one or two Members on this side of the House were united in the fight against the Bill. But if we had had the support of the Liberal Party the legislation would not now be an Act and it would have been quietly forgotten.

I withdraw any personal accusation against the right hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland, who was in the Division Lobby with us. My attack is not directed at him. But I repeat that this debate would never have arisen today had we had the support of the Liberals as a whole.

I hope that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland will give us a free day or let in the young and the old. If he does this, I shall support the Government. If he is unable to do so, they will not have the support of Members on the Conservative back benches.

8.22 p.m.

Mr. Andrew Faulds (Smethwick)

I am sure you will understand, Mr. Deputy Speaker, that although I am Labour Party spokesman on the arts, my natural modesty occasionally overcomes me and I retreat to the fastnesses of the back benches—and, of course, I would not wish to crowd the Opposition Front Bench.

I hope that the hon. Member for Louth (Mr. Jeffrey Archer) will have the courage to let his vote follow his voice tonight, and I hope that some of his Conservative colleagues will follow him into the Division Lobby. We shall look at them with scant regard if that does not take place.

In an address to the Conservative Party conference at Blackpool on 8th October 1970 the Paymaster-General said: If Parliament agreed I would be ready to charge entrance fees. But the legislation which this House passed was not mandatory; it merely gave powers to charge to such boards of trustees as did not possess them already. It is still for this House to consider whether it approves of a policy by which all the boards are coerced by the Government, on pain of financial sanctions, into carrying out a policy of which they heartily disapprove. That is the issue in this debate.

In that same speech at Blackpool the Paymaster-General put forward a theoretical association between the proceeds of charging—the little loot this policy will raise—and the financing of capital developments for the museums. But, as with so many of the noble Lord's utterances he was incorrect: there is no connection in accountancy. All the capital works recently completed or now in progress were either begun or planned more than three years ago by our dear Jennie Lee. There is one exception: the project—I think not yet begun—to provide additional accommodation by means of mezzanine floors at the National Maritime Museum. So much for the vaunted largesse of that ineffable fellow in the other place.

From our experience of the noble Lord's devious deployment of political blackmail, it is only wise to scrutinise closely, and with a fairly jaundiced eye, the inducements apparently being extended this evening to those Tory backbenchers who have declared their intention of consigning the charges to oblivion. A last-minute bribe has been provided, and perhaps there will be more in the winding-up speech.

Mr. Jeffrey Archer

We hope so.

Mr. Faulds

I am delighted to hear that the Conservative back bench hopes so.

The right hon. Lady the Secretary of State for Education and Science seemed to suggest in her speech today that the proceeds of charges will go to the museums. There was such a mass of verbiage in her explanation that her meaning did not quite emerge. Will the funds be genuinely at the disposal of the museum authorities? Or does it mean that the moneys will be administered indirectly by the Minister? I suspect that these moneys will be taken into account in reducing the direct grants of the museums proportionately. We shall see—and I think I shall be proved right. That would be no concession, but would simply strengthen the potentialities for financial blackmail at the Minister's disposal.

An argument that has been repeated by the Prime Minister is the analogy which he claims to exist between the visual arts and the performing arts—between paintings on the one hand and performances of plays, ballets and music on the other. Since one pays for these, he argues, one ought to pay to view paintings in galleries and objects in museums.

The fallacies of this argument are obvious. Performers have regularly to be paid since they need the wherewithal to live, and even the Prime Minister in his remote tower in Downing Street should realise that, whereas the canvasses and objets d'art on the walls and in the display cases came into our national possession—and they are national possessions—without payment and by private munificence, dead artists "don't need no bread"! Dead artists whose pictures hang on the walls and objets d'art in museums do not have to be provided for in the sense of making a living for the people who created them.

Mrs. Thatcher

But live wardens need wages, and so do those who conserve the pictures, as the hon. Gentleman knows. Furthermore, they are in short supply and need to be paid a considerable wage.

Mr. Faulds

The Prime Minister failed to point out that fact when he made that statement. Perhaps the right hon. Lady will remind him to do so the next time he deploys that argument.

Nor is it true, as our musical Prime Minister has frequently asserted, that music is never available free. Is he contemplating reimposing licensing fees for sound radio and musical licences for our great cathedrals? We shall wait and see.

In this connection the House may derive some benefit from a letter which I have received from a concerned correspondent in terms of the Prime Minister's musical interest. He writes: Dear Mr. Faulds, I am writing to you as the spearhead of Labour's attack on the museum charges."— It is very nice to be recognised— I enclose for reference an interview with Mr. Heath. In this cutting he asserts that 'As a musician I never got anything for nothing.' I wonder next time there is a debate it might be worthwhile reminding him that for four years he was a leading participant in the Balliol College Musical Society whose principle is that all concerts given by the Society shall be free to all members of the University? The Society is supported entirely by financial contribution by members of the college. The concerts are still free to college members who do not subscribe anything. For four years Mr. Heath supported this system and himself enjoyed, free, a series of first-rate professional concerts. He performed there himself and assisted in getting Mr. Yehudi Menuhin to play there on the occasion of Balliol's 800th centenary. The gentleman signs himself "Sincerely, Geoffrey Bush"—thank you, Mr. Bush! How sad it is that these civilised activities of his youth should have to be cited in refutation of the flabby arguments the Prime Minister now inflates in his maturity.

Again the Prime Minister, citing the splendid Chinese relics at the Royal Academy, has appeared to claim that the public is capable of appreciating only what it pays for. But he does not understand that such a unique opportunity to see the cultural treasures of another country is not pertinent to museum-going on the every-day occasion. Attendances at museums are clearly affected by charging to a damaging extent. The right hon. Lady, although she did not quote from the report, knows well that the Standing Commission on Museums and Galleries has reported falls in attendances in Scotland and Wales. It blames the decline on public supposition that charges had already started. Falling attendances at the National Gallery in London were strikingly reversed during a month last year—I think it was September—when a huge placard stating that admission was free was placed outside the gallery.

Further evidence is offered in the September bulletin of the Museums Association in which it is stated that— a dramatic improvement in the visitor totals of the museums concerned followed the abandonment of entry charges at your municipal museums in Edinburgh. The report says that the figures were supplied to the Paymaster's Office at its request. Presumably those telling statistics, which were a bit inconvenient, were quickly pigeon-holed and forgotten and were not drawn out for the right hon. Lady's speech.

Have the Government realised the effect of their policy on future benefactions? Their intended tinkering with the will of Henry Vaughan was averted only by a flood of protests from Members of both Houses and the certainty of defeat on the issue.

There are—and I spell this out to the Government—there are collectors who are devoted to the arts and to this country who would wish to make their contributions to enrich the national museums, but who are repelled by the total insensitivity of the Minister for the Arts and by the Prime Minister's lofty disdain for the views of those knowledgeable in these matters, collectors and trustees alike.

Contrary to what was wrongly assumed when this long-drawn out lunacy was launched, the whole museum world has made clear its outright hostility. Only yesterday, the boards of two museums in Belfast and Edinburgh stated yet again their wholehearted opposition. The House must know it to be true—it cannot pretend that this is not so—that the charges are being forced upon the museums and art gallery trustees totally against their declared wishes.

We all know that, sadly, politicians are looked upon these days with scant regard. They can be whipped into support or opposition Lobbies at the will of Government or Opposition. What an opportunity this occasion presents to Parliament to assert its right not to be dragooned but to say its mind. I suspect that quite a little tremor of surprise would course throughout the country that on an issue such as this, where the Government are intent on riding roughshod over all informed opinion, hon. Members actually had the guts to get up and say "We have had enough of all this twisting and turning and nonsense on this policy." Public esteem for the parliamentary process would be enhanced and hon. Members might walk the streets of their constituencies with their eyes less frequently averted.

The House has an opportunity tonight which it should not pass up, and some of the great ghosts which hang about the place might nod their approval of the reassertion of a Member's right to an occasional independent decision.

8.33 p.m.

Mr. Robert Cooke (Bristol, West)

The hon. Member for Smethwick (Mr. Faulds) was perhaps not at his best, he being half-way between the Opposition back benches and the Opposition Front Bench. I did not hear anything very new in what he said, except that he gave us a few new insults directed at my right hon. and noble Friend the Paymaster-General. There is nothing new in that.

There is a group of people on the Left inside the House and outside who condemn out of hand whatever is done by a Tory Government or a Tory Minister. I do not object to a fierce debate on matters of art. Art is a good thing about which to have a flaming row. It is harmless so to do unless we damage the arts that we seek to enhance. I am told that it was Lord Melbourne who said "God help Governments that meddle in art." Lord Melbourne must have cribbed something much stronger that the Duke of Wellington said sometime before. However, we get the message—namely, that whatever we strive to do, there will be plenty of criticism.

The right hon. Member for Vauxhall (Mr. Strauss) identifies himself with a small but influential section who care about the arts. He has accused us of euphoria and folly following the General Election of 1970. I think he should look back a bit to the arts White Paper of 1965 which was produced by Jennie Lee, God bless her! It will be seen from the White Paper that art to the Labour Party is a social service. I think it said that art was a social service which should not be starved of resources.

I think I carry my hon. Friends with me when I say that I look upon art in a rather different light. As I understand it, my right hon and noble Friend believes that art is not just a spectator sport and that there should be partnership and real participation.

We heard about this voceriferous, influential section who care about the arts. It has been suggested by them that the trustees of all our great national institutions are unanimously against the charges. I doubt that. I can tell the House that between 1964 and 1970, when we were out of office, some of us sought to discover what future policy in this area might be. We found that rather more than half of the directors of the institutions being argued about today were in favour of charges for a number of reareasons. One reason had to do with control of crowds. It was said that it would mean that booked parties could be sure of seeing exhibits to the best possible advantage because free for all means that none can benefit from or enjoy collections in a proper fashion.

The Front Benches have quoted statistics of one kind or another. There is a mass of them. I would like to give a brief example from personal experience. I do not think anyone would disagree that the finest art gallery and museum complex in the world is the whole series of historic houses in this country, most in private hands, which attract millions of visitors a year. No one has seriously suggested that these should be taken over by the State and run at vast cost with free admission.

Mr. Dennis Skinner (Bolsolver)

Not yet.

Mr. Cooke

The modest entrance charges are not complained about and the visitors are a true cross-section of the community. They have a real sense of pride in helping to keep the houses and the collections inside them, making them accessible to a wider public. The most telling thing that one of the visitors who came to my house recently said to me was that he came in a Communist and went out a Conservative. Hon. Members may laugh. I must make it clear that the object of the exercise is not to convert Communists to Conservatives or even Socialists to Conservatives. This man meant that he went in thinking "Here is something I want to destroy," and came out feeling that he was part of a partnership to keep these things going.

The same sense of partnership exists between those who pay to enter publicly-owned institutions and who, by doing so, support the museum or gallery. I am sure that some of the insufficiencies we see in our museums and galleries would never be tolerated if people were paying to come in. I know of a North Country gallery which spent £30,000 on a new picture, where water pours through the roof within a few feet of this latest acquisition. If people paid to go in they would not stand it for a moment.

It is not true that charges will deter future gifts—not in my experience. As the owner of probably the finest keyboard instrument still in private hands, a Kirckman harpsichord made for Queen Charlotte in 1761, I would be far more inclined, if I had to give it away, to give it to a viable institution where the public would be paying for its upkeep than to see it at the mercy of some capricious trustees who might destroy it, albeit accidentally, by damp or overheating. The financial provisions which the Government have introduced will also greatly encourage those who want to leave their collections to our institutions.

Towards the end of the debate there will no doubt be introduced this question of legal muddle, and I agree it is, over Henry Vaughan's will. If someone wants to bring a case against the Government for allegedly doing wrong with Henry Vaughan's will, let them do so and test it in the courts. I do not believe that the Vaughan will is a sacred document and I do not believe that the Government are tampering with it. In any case, what about the £5,000 he left to the Middlesex Hospital and another hospital which was confiscated among the hospital endowments when the National Health Service was started?

The Vaughan will, we are told by some, is sacred. But are all wills sacred? I am a trustee of a charity in the village of Puddletown, in Dorset, which was left to the community to provide bibles and a decent shroud on burial for the poor of the parish. Are we bound by that will today? Of course not. We give coal and clothing at Christmas time to the old—and make sure that by doing so we do not let them lose any of their State benefit. How far back are we to go? Are the lives of the living to be ruled by the wishes of those long dead? How do we know that Henry Vaughan would adhere today to what he wrote a century ago? He was a liberal-minded and generous patron of art and science and loved humanity and in his will remembered all those who had served him in his life. He might well say today that his money should be spent to encourage living artists.

Mr. Gorst

If we are not to be ruled by the views of the dead—and there may well be an argument in favour of that—at least we should take account of the fact that some of those who are still alive may not wish to bequeath what they own to the nation in the present circumstances.

Mr. Cooke

We have had that argument before. I made it clear that, as one of those possibly affected, it would not make any difference to me, and I do not believe that it would make a difference to very many people. Some of those who oppose us so strongly seem to think that all good art belongs to the past and can be understood only by a select coterie of informed people. I believe that the Government have made a great beginning in breaking out from this outdated approach. When one looks at what the regional arts associations are doing and at the Arts Council's change of emphasis and interest in the more popular forms of art. I think it all means that the public will have wider participation and not be spoon fed, which is what the Opposition's policy meant when they were in Government.

I think that the Opposition might be pleased to adopt a phrase I thought of recently—that it is the people who participate now who are the patrons. We are the patrons now. That should be the catch-phrase. There are those who will complain still that not enough is being done. Let them not forget that for every one person who may display a passing interest in a Titian there are 100 more concerned about producing pristine plumbing, in primary schools, and that Government money for the arts is always going to be a battle in competition with other more immediate public demands.

I believe that my right hon. and noble Friend the Paymaster-General has driven a hard and good bargain with the Treasury and that it has enabled him to finance many under-financed commitments left to him by his predecessor, the noble Lady Baroness Lee, who was full of enthusiasm but did not provide the money. He is making great progress in bringing the arts to a wider public. I wish the Government all success, also, in a new sector which I hope they will tackle soon. This is television, whereby, if the trade unions will let us, immense benefit can come to the arts.

It is small wonder that we are poor relations if we make no effort to help to pay our way, and I caution certain hon. Friends of mine—some of them sitting close to me—that if they spend their lives sniping unsympathetically at the Government they are not likely to make much progress. I believe that we should all unite in support of what I believe to be a fine effort on the part of the Government.

I am sorry if the conversation from my hon. Friend the Member for Ipswich (Mr. Money) behind me has caused me to say something he did not understand. I want to complete my case by dealing with him if he will give me his attention for a moment. He is complaining about what the Government are doing today by imposing charges on entering museums. I wonder how he reconciles that with the suggestion he is putting forward that public libraries should now be empowered to charge people who borrow books so that starving authors should receive some extra reward for their work.

Mr. Money

I do not know whom my hon. Friend has been talking to or how he knows more about the Bill I propose to bring in than I do, since neither the sponsors of the Bill nor I have yet decided its terms. But I assure him that one thing that is not there—and it is an all-party Bill—is any concept that any charge will be levied on any member of the public at all, even though it might please my hon. Friend if there were.

Mr. Cooke

It would not please me at all if there were. But someone will have to pay more if there is to be a charge for lending.

I am delighted that my hon. Friend the Member for Ipswich has put me right. I would not have taken so long to put forward my views if he had not been conversing so loudly behind me.

The conclusion must be that those of us who care about the arts are few enough in number in a busy political life. Instead of disagreeing with and sniping at Governments who do their best to cope, if we could all combine there is no limit to what we would achieve. I appeal to right hon. and hon. Members on both sides of the House to combine in order to improve the prospects for the arts and not to damage them in the way in which they could be damaged tonight.

8.45 p.m.

Mr. James Boyden (Bishop Auckland)

The hon. Member for Bristol, West (Mr. Robert Cooke) must know that there are scores of ancient monuments and similar buildings in the care of the Department of the Environment which are open entirely free and that where charges are levied, at places like Hampton Court and the Tower, it is purely for historic reasons. When I was at the Ministry of Public Building and Works it was my ambition that these, too, would ultimately be free, and certainly when I was a Minister charges were kept low as part of the contribution to persuading people to be more interested in our cultural heritage.

The Secretary of State used some extraordinary arguments to support her case. Take, for example, her argument about charging preventing overcrowding. That is an entirely élitist argument: those who can afford to pay will be able to see and those who cannot will be kept out. If overcrowding is a problem the answer is simple: either extend the hours or put up a notice saying "Full".

Mrs. Thatcher

I did not mention overcrowding.

Mr. Boyden

The right hon. Lady said that one reason for putting on charges was that some of the museums and art galleries were overcrowded.

Mrs. Thatcher

With respect, I think that perhaps it was another hon. Member who mentioned that in an intervention.

Mr. Boyden

I see no reason to attribute the remark to the right hon. Lady unless I heard her say it. We shall see whether I am right when HANSARD is published tomorrow.

I let that go. The right hon. Lady makes an equally extraordinary argument about charging in relation to her general philosophy. She seems proud of expenditure which the Government have made in encouraging the development of the public's attendance at art galleries and museums. In the same breath she proposes these charges which are a barrier against the very people whom her Department and Opposition Members wish to encourage to go to art galleries and museums. I have in mind those who have only a marginal interest in art. It is very difficult to encourage working people to be interested in the arts, and barriers of this kind interfere with the development of an educational philosophy and policy in this respect.

Let me tell the right hon. Lady about the Bowes Museum at Barnard Castle. I was treasurer of that museum at the time that it was going bankrupt. I had two roles. I had to persuade the trustees to go into liquidation and to hand over the museum to the county council, and I had to persuade the Durham County Council to take over the museum.

It was my intention and that of the county council that there would be no charge for admission to the Bowes Museum. Owing to legal difficulties over the trust deed and the taking over, a small charge was levied, and continues to be levied.

The point I wish to make against the right hon. Lady is that the charge has had nothing to do with the development of interest in the museum. It is because the policy of the county council and successive curators has been to encourage people to go to the museum, by advertising, improving the displays, spending a great deal of money on the museum—a whole host of things—that the museum has been revitalised, and has in the course of years set going three other museums. The Durham Light Infantry museum in Aykley Heads, the museum at Beamish and the Schools Museum Service all spring from those early days when the county council took over the bankrupt museum.

Although there was a small charge and the figures have gone up continuously, the charge is irrelevant. The figures have gone up because of the county council's education policy and its determination to attract the very people I wanted always to go to the best museums, and still want to go to the national galleries, those who have not much interest in museums in the first place, whom one must encourage to go there. It is part of the other side of adult education. I am pleased that the Russell Report refers in paragraph 126 to the value of museums, although in rather lukewarm terms.

A major point that the Government do not seem to understand is that all museums have two major duties. One is to conserve, which is relatively easy, because all curators are trained in conservation and that is their primary aim. The other is to encourage a popular interest in museums, something the Soviet Union does very well. That is the most difficult task of all. The curators are often less interested in it, and need a great deal of public pressure and encouragement from the powers-that-be.

Years ago I was interested in that aspect when I was Chairman of the National Institute for Adult Education. We formed a working party on museums and adult education, which made difficult progress. The conservationists always came out on top. I shall not be surprised if the extra £1 million which the right hon. Lady hopes to have will go on conservation, on cleaning the pictures, rather than on doing what I urge, which is as important a central theme in our national museums and galleries as anything else.

The charges are a tremendous obstacle to getting that kind of interest going. The right hon. Lady will, by these petty-fogging charges, spoil the efforts which she claims, with reasonable justice, to be making to spend more Government money on the museums.

There is another reason why the time is particularly inopportune. The right hon. Lady knows that 1975 is the Council of Europe's Architectural Heritage Year. Europa Nostra and the Council of Europe are making tremendous efforts to interest the general public in the conservation of our historic towns, town centres, buildings and so on. Nothing could be more damaging to those efforts than the Government's move. It is the beginning of a slippery slope towards putting up the bars against the public in many ways. Salisbury Cathedral is now charging. I shall not be surprised if before very long the charge-minded people put barbed wire around Grasmere and charge people to look at it.

Free admission is a simple Socialist concept. We believe in the arts and many other things being social services. If they are free, that encourages a great development among the people, among children, among the very sort of people in whom one should be taking a special interest. The Government are putting back the clock for no worthwhile amount of money, resulting in the development of a petty bureaucracy at the gates of museums and damage to what should be a progressive movement forward of encouraging young people, old people, all those who are only faintly interested in museums and art, to come freely into our art galleries and museums. I should like to see our historic monuments under the Department of the Environment free.

8.55 p.m.

Mr. Nicholas Ridley (Cirencester and Tewkesbury)

The hon. Member for Bishop Auckland (Mr. Boyden) was right to stress the ideological undertones of the debate. I shall come back to that point towards the end of what will be a brief speech. Equally, I thought that in referring to the Bowes Museum, whose returns prospered and flourished despite the imposition of charges, he chose a bad example in support of his argument. Despite there not being a top-rate collection there, despite the fact that it is not being added to and nothing is growing and despite charges, it is possible to increase attendance enormously.

I do not believe that charges are important in considering the numbers of people who will visit a gallery or museum. It is the excellence and quality of exhibits that bring in the large numbers. The figures of attendance at historic houses and foreign galleries show that it is the quality of the exhibits, the publicity, and the arrangements for visitors that attract the numbers. I do not believe that charges will put people off visiting museums and galleries.

I get slightly irritated, after going to Paris and other foreign capitals and having to pay large sums of money to visit the Louvre and other galleries, to find on returning to this country that I have to pay taxes to subsidise galleries and museums to enable the French, the Spaniards and the Italians to visit them free of charge.

I do not want to talk so much about the pros and cons of these charges as to draw a lesson from the troubles in our economic life. It is absurd to suggest that £1 million is in any sense a contribution to inflation. The Government seek to overspend £4,400 million this year. Incidentally, the right hon. Member for Vauxhall (Mr. Strauss) was wrong in suggesting that taking £1 million from the public to visit our galleries was inflationary. It is deflationary, because the public have £1 million less to spend on other things. But, leaving that aside, it is absurd to be critical about spending £1 million when the Government are already spending £4,400 million too much.

It might be instructive to treat it as a microcosm of our problem, to turn the argument on its head, because, small as £1 million is in this context, I have observed the fight that the Labour Party and several of my hon. Friends have waged relentlessly for three years to try to stop the Government taking £1 million from the public to pay for a service. Rather, I would criticise the Government for taking so little. If the service is costing £23 million, why take only £1 million to pay for it?

This lobby by the trustees and administrators of our galleries and museums, backed by hon. Members on both sides of the House, has been mounted because they cannot lose. Nobody will criticise them for taking a stand and fighting to the last ditch to save charges being imposed upon museums. The public are probably bored by the whole debate. They do not mind paying 10p to enter a museum. But there might be a little spurious glory, publicity, or popularity to be gained by taking up a cause of this kind and flogging it again and again.

The hon. Member for Smethwick (Mr. Faulds) treated this whole matter as a great parliamentary crusade—

Mr. Faulds

As it is.

Mr. Ridley

—as though, if this House were to defeat the Government, it would be a victory for Parliament.

Mr. Faulds

It would.

Mr. Ridley

If the House were to defeat the Government on not spending so much money it might be a contribution to the respect in which Parliament is held, but if the Opposition and my hon. Friends are going to join in attacking the Government for trying to save such a small sum of money, as they would, what shall we do when we come to the big sums of money? What shall we do when the real sacrifices have to be made, as they will have to be?

If in this paltry case involving £1 million those who are opposing the Government are prepared to push their wounded pride, their desire to be elevated by the people, their fear of not being thought to be standing four-square for the arts by insisting that somebody else should pay, heaven knows how we shall prune the excessive growth of the expectations that the Government will finance everything. I therefore oppose the motion and hope that my right hon. Friend will have the courage to increase museum charges and extend them to many other forms of activity.

9.1 p.m.

Mr. Maurice Edelman (Coventry North)

The Government's tenacity in clinging to museum charges is the last-ditch stand of Selsdon man, personified by the hon. Member for Cirencester and Tewkesbury (Mr. Ridley). It is the Prime Minister who, as a matter of prestige, has been clinging to the vestigal remnants of a policy of not helping lame ducks or others who are disadvantaged. It is he who is fighting to the last to preserve these charges.

Although the original Selsdon programmes have been whittled away by the logic of circumstances, the Prime Minister and Lord Eccles still hold on to the assumption that by charging 10p for entrance to museums they will somehow or other elevate the moral tone of the nation and make it more self-reliant. But it is clear that if these charges are finally brought into effect the result will be to create a kind of cultural apartheid, separating those who can pay from those who have to remain outside the turnstiles.

It is a curious fact that the Prime Minister, who has spoken with such burning faith about the quality of life, as he did at the time of the election, should be so totally dogmatic and obstinate in defending a measure which places barriers on the free access to the nation's cultural heritage and which will undoubtedly have the effect of injuring the very quality of life which he professes to uphold.

Let the Prime Minister look at the crowds of young people thronging the National Gallery, the Tate and the Victoria and Albert Museum. Let him consider what would happen if those young men and women were prevented and discouraged by the 10p turnstile from enjoying these treasures which, after all, do not belong to the Government of the day but are heirlooms of the nation, bequeathed by generations of public-spirited men whose aim it was precisely to raise the quality of life.

This is a reactionary measure in the most literal sense, and the case for it was put extremely well in its most naked and reactionary form by the hon. Member for Cirencester and Tewkesbury. It is reactionary in the sense that the reformers of the nineteenth century, men of enlightenment, including many Tory reformers, such as Lord Ashley, were concerned with making the culture of the nation and the treasures of its past more and more accessible to more and more people. They opposed taxes on learning and on newspapers. They opened up the way to free education and free libraries. They took the view that education open to all would eventually create a finer and more enlightened Britain. But apart from that they also took the view that the civilising influence of free access to museums and galleries would benefit the whole nation.

The sum in question is a paltry £1 million. The hon. Member for Cirencester and Tewkesbury did not put it in perspective. It is½ per cent. of national public expenditure. The Government have debased themselves by preparing to put up turnstiles from 1st January and thus prevent so many young people from visiting the nation's treasures.

I should be the last to accuse the Prime Minister or Lord Eccles of philistinism. Everyone knows of the Prime Minister's great interest in music. He has lately shown an interest in painting; he has recently redecorated No. 10 Downing Street. Lord Eccles is a distinguished book collector and has a discriminating collection of paintings. His general approach has been that of an eighteenth century amateur of the arts.

But how paradoxical it is that both the Prime Minister and Lord Eccles should be so inflexible in the face of the approaches not only of my hon. Friends but also of enlightened Tories, who I hope will join us in the Lobby tonight. How strange that the Prime Minister should be so obtuse in the face of the protests of museum trustees, of whom the hon. Member for Cirencester and Tewkesbury, I am sorry to say, takes such a low view. It is a view which, in my experience and that of most hon. Members, is totally unjustified.

How insensitive of the Government to be deaf to the protests of lawyers and laymen alike who are deeply disturbed by the new principle that the Government have introduced of undoing the provisions of wills without the consent even of the families involved.

I am not surprised that the right hon. Lady has been put up to give the case for charges. I found her argument complicated. The only clear line that I could detect was that the higher the charges, the greater the numbers who would want to visit the museums. Her argument carried no conviction with me. Her illustrations were of specialised types of museums which would obviously attract people concerned with their specialised activities, such as folk museums. I am more persuaded by the argument of my hon. Friends that it is precisely because the impression was created that the charges had already been introduced that the entrance figures for general museums began to fall.

This measure is the last in a trilogy of Ms—milk, meals and now museums—all embraced by the greater Ms of the meanness of this Government towards those who are disadvantaged. They are a Government who have successfully divided the nation.

The right hon. Lady gave some hints about exemptions which reminded me of the phase 3 complexity of potential exceptions. Under the right hon. Lady's dispensation, we shall see queuing up outside the galleries old-age pensioners brandishing their social security cards, schoolboys with their birth certificates, the disabled with their doctors' letters and students with their student union cards.

I hope that the hon. Member for Louth (Mr. Jeffrey Archer) will not take much comfort from the Secretary of State's suggestion that students might be exempt. After all, what is a student? Is he someone registered at a university, polytechnic or college? What about all those young shop and factory workers who are essentially students in that they want to go into museums to educate themselves? Are they to be excluded while those who simply have the formal label of "student" are to be admitted free of charge?

Mr. Money

Does not the hon. Gentleman agree that a free day would cover precisely the category about which he is talking?

Mr. Edelman

I have consistently been opposed to the idea of a free day, not because I am unwilling to see a day when people can have free entrance but because, once again, a free day would represent the divisiveness which the Government have introduced into the nation. A free day would mean that on one day of the week a whole lot of people would be herded together in conditions which would not give them adequate opportunity to see the objects they went to see, while on the other days those who were better fortuned would have the opportunity of doing so at their leisure. I oppose the free day because it would create a kind of ghetto for those who have not the means to pay for admission to the gallery, and it would frustrate the objects that I am trying to uphold.

I can tell the hon. Member for Cirencester and Tewkesbury that he and the Government have grossly underestimated the public indignation in this matter. It would be a mistake to imagine that the concern is felt merely by a few academics, a few museum curators and a few who are concerned with the arts. The indignation is widespread. Throughout the country millions of people have come to know something of the arts because of the impact of television and even of the glossy supplements to the Sunday newspapers. People have become interested in the arts. One has only to visit the galleries to see that.

Mr. Ridley

If people can afford Sunday newspapers and television, surely they can afford the odd 10p to visit a museum. Indeed, they might be wiser to go to the museum than to obtain the Sunday newspapers.

Mr. Edelman

That is a pretentious assumption. In the arithmetic of ordinary people, it is a matter of making certain choices.

I am arguing that there should be this freedom of accessibility, as there has been historically. I want to see it preserved. Sometimes hon. Members who are in favour of museum charges call in aid exceptions, such as the superb Chinese exhibition. They ask why, if people are prepared to pay to see such exhibitions, they should not pay in order to enter national museums. I can only say that when one has a specially mounted exhibition such as the Chinese exhibition, people are prepared to make almost a once-for-all sacrifice in order to see it. What we on the Opposition side of the House are talking about is the basic fact that museums, which are really the possession of the nation, should be free and accessible to all. They are the formative treasures of the past which are a legacy to the whole nation. Therefore, anything which acts as a barrier ought to be resisted.

Of the shameful measures that the present Government have introduced, this is the most shameful because it is an attack on the quality of life. It is an attack on half the nation, who will have to pay a tax on knowledge as a result of the Government's impositions. It is regressive because its underlying assumption is that cultural education is something to be based on privilege. What a curious thing it is that the present Government, which allow property speculators to go scot-free and tax-free, should now insist on imposing this tax.

I know that some hon. Members on the Government side of the House will feel a deep sense of shame at the sight of the turnstiles which are already being erected in our museums and galleries. I hope that those who feel that sense of shame will prove the sincerity of their conscience by coming into the Lobby with us tonight. I am sure they realise that a good conscience is far better than a pat on the back from the Whips. I hope they will join us in the Lobby in order to make the turnstiles obsolete before the first one turns. I can assure them, particularly the hon. Member for Louth, that if tonight they join us in breaking down the barriers to the whole nation's enjoyment of our cultural heritage they will deserve well not only of their constituents but of posterity.

9.17 p.m.

Mr. Ernle Money (Ipswich)

It was that able, agreeable and idle Prime Minister, Lord Melbourne, who once said, God help the Government that meddles with art. Listening to some of the deliberations of the House this evening I felt that were his presence here among the various other presences which have been evoked he would have been unlikely to have expressed a different opinion.

It has been a constructive debate in many ways, and an interesting one, although we have been startled by some of the suggestions, notably from my hon. Friend the Member for Cirencester and Tewkesbury (Mr. Ridley), who seemed determined to squeeze the last pip, as it were, from the cultural orange. I dread to think what would happen if he eventually got on to the capital value of the works. No doubt the Bowes Museum would be compelled to flog off its El Greco, its St. Peter Repentant and its great Goya in the interests of the Durham County Council.

My hon. Friend the Member for Bristol, West (Mr. Robert Cooke) made a somewhat puzzling speech and suggested that the best way of showing an identification with the arts was to adopt a mole-like support of the administration in all circumstances.

But two speeches above all have been of great interest. The speech of the hon. Member for Smethwick (Mr. Faulds) was one. Whether he speaks from self-imposed banishment at the far end of the Opposition Back Bench or from his proper place on the Opposition Front Bench, he manages to express the deep concern which has been felt by large numbers of people who are passionately concerned with the quality of life, as was the hon. Member for Coventry, North (Mr. Edelman).

Many people have expressed a real worry about the implications of the Act. My hon. Friend the Member for Louth (Mr. Jeffrey Archer) was the first person on the Government benches to point out some of the risks, and he has been unmitigating and consistent throughout in the line he has taken.

We have welcomed, and taken great encouragement from, some of the concessions which the Government have been able to give us. We have taken a great deal of comfort from the fact that in recent weeks my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland has shown that it was not the intention of this Government to deviate from normal Conservative practice by interferring retrospectively with other people's wills. [HON. MEMBERS: "It was his intention."] It is not now.

We have taken a great deal of comfort from the statement by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education, who this evening has made it clear that the money raised by these charges is to remain with the museums. I am sorry that, although she spelt out quite clearly the purposes for which this money should be utilised, the major concession some of us have been pressing for that the money should be spent in the interests of the museum service itself has not been made. I remember addressing myself on Second Reading specifically to this point. We should not treat the money as a form of fiscal levy. But the fact that the money is to remain with the museums is a major triumph for those who have been deeply concerned about the fact that this money might simply be raised as a general addendum to the national finances.

However, we have had no firm undertaking about the free day. One accepts that the approach of the hon. Member for Coventry, North was basically ideological, but many of us on this side hope sincerely that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland will be able to say something about the arguments deployed by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister and by others of my right hon. Friends. I hope that we shall be doing the same as the other great museums of Europe—the Prada, the Louvre, the Uffizi and the museums of Athens—which have a non-subsidised free day. One of the saddest parts of my right hon. Friend's speech, when she mentioned the various forms of agreement which had been made with the trustees of the museums, was when she said that the free day at the Tate Gallery would be subsidised out of that gallery's own resources.

It is not too late for the Government to give us this concession. When my right hon. Friend said that the Government have not closed their minds and that this is a matter on which they are prepared to accept further argument and to consider at further length, that was a good step forward. But those of us who have felt grave anxiety about this aspect hope that perhaps tonight, but certainly on some other occasion, that concession will be made explicit. I do not think one can say more tonight on that issue, and to sum up the anxiety of some of us—

Mr. Faulds

Say it with your vote.

Mr. Money

With great respect to the hon. Member for Smethwick, I am not surprised that he now walks about Smethwick with his eyes downcast, as he said earlier, considering the policies of his party.

Mr. Faulds

You have got my words wrong, mate.

Mr. Money

If I may return from badinage with the hon. Gentleman to addressing my right hon. Friends on the Front Bench as seriously and earnestly as I can, it will be of the greatest comfort to those who are interested in the arts if this concession, which would cost only £60,000 and which would meet very many of the reservations about the old and the young, can be made. To take the example of Ulster, about which we have heard so little tonight, it will mean that the great Gerona treasure will be available to those who subscribed for it, and some of us will feel very much happier than we feel at the moment.

This is an anxious moment, because, although this issue has become a subject for party involvement, whether it be the fundamentalist expression of loyalty or the real concern of some of us, it is not our habit to vote against an administration in which we have great confidence. None the less, on this one facet the Government have gone a long way by making concessions. For this we thank them. But we hope that they can give us this other matter which would extend our confidence in them.

9.25 p.m.

Mr. Guy Barnett (Greenwich)

The hon. Member for Ipswich (Mr. Money) asked the Government for concessions, which, of course, he is entitled to do. But those of us who have been concerned with this legislation ever since it was introduced know that it is unlikely that the hon. Gentleman will get concessions from the Government which will cost any money.

The reason is that the cost of collecting the money at the turnstile is so enormous in comparison with the amount likely to be gained that the Government are unwilling to make concessions even of sums like £60,000, because to do so would make a mockery of the legislation. It also is a crazy system when legislation has been passed which will mean that in a museum in my constituency the cost of collection will be 39 per cent. of the total amount collected. That in itself is crazy. But the concessions would make this proposal even madder than it already seems to many of us.

There is a concession that I should like to ask from the Government. I know that I shall not get it, because a recent parliamentary answer indicated that it would cost £150,000. However, I should like to see it made possible for all children to enter museums free. I say this as somebody who was an education officer in a museum and as somebody who was a teacher. I regard the museums, as long as they are free, as being an important part of our informal system of education. I know that school visits take place and are admirable, and I know that the Government have already made a concession in that respect, and that is tine. As a former teacher and museum education officer, however, I could judge the success or otherwise of my work by the number of children who came back to the institution on their own to see the things they had been shown there by their teachers and by the museum education officers. That seems to be a reason for opposing this legislation.

The value of museums as part of our informal system of education lies in encouraging and enlightening people who otherwise might never be interested in art or in artefacts throughout the whole of their lives. I remember some months ago a moving speech by my hon. Friend the Member for Pontefract (Mr. Harper) in which he cited a friend of his who became interested in pictures because he went into a gallery to keep warm. That was how it began. It ended with that same man holding a fairly senior position as a teacher of art. That kind of story is significant in these matters. This applies to children, to adults and particularly to pensioners who need to have opportunities to develop new interests when their working lives are over. I see this as a thoroughly regressive form of legislation.

We are all rightly sensitive about interference with the way in which educational institutions are run. It is no accident that Section 2(3) of the National Maritime Museum Act 1934 states that the board shall have power to make such regulations as they think necessary for securing the due administration of the Museum and preserving the objects collected therein, including regulations requiring payment to be made for admission to the Museum". That again makes it the responsibility of the trustees, and rightly so. It is very poor that the Government should interfere to that degree in any decisions which should be the responsibility of the trustees running the museums, and not the responsibility of Government. I deplore such Government interference in other educational institutions.

9.30 p.m.

Mr. John Smith (Lanarkshire, North)

We are coming, as many hon. Members have observed, to the end of one stage of the debate which has now been going on for three years. Tonight there have been rehearsed some of the arguments with which many people have been familiar for many years.

I want to take the House back to one of the arguments which has not figured so generally in the debate, although it was mentioned by the hon. Member for Bristol, West (Mr. Robert Cooke) and by the right hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Grimond)—namely, the interference with bequests and the effect on future benefactions. Apart from the general objection to the principle of admission charges, there has been the important issue of interference with the conditions of gifts of works of art, particularly to the Scottish galleries, and the effect that such interference may have on future benefactions to the nation.

The Government have had to desist from interfering with Henry Vaughan's will, which governs the Turner collection in the National Gallery of Scotland, although they took powers to do so and attempted to exercise them. In a final concession made only yesterday, for such is the way the matter has been handled—or bungled—the Secretary of State for Scotland confirmed that he would honour that part of Henry Vaughan's will which stipulates that access to the pictures in Edinburgh should be on the same conditions as at the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge. We know that the conditions are that members of the public wishing to seek access to the pictures—

Mr. Gordon Campbell

The point about this matter being raised in reply to a Question yesterday is that the matter only came up during the past few weeks because of a different interpretation of the will. That is the only reason for the matter not coming up until recently.

Mr. Smith

This matter has been around for three years. The Secretary of State knows well that there has been trench warfare over the will and he has evacuated every position he has occupied. He has evacuated the position that he would interfere with the will, which he attempted to do. When I and others put to him the point about similar conditions applying to Edinburgh as applied to the Fitzwilliam Museum, he gave in again and refused to go to the courts to have the matter authoritatively decided. He has conceded on that. Some pictures are to be shown free at the National Gallery of Scotland and others are not. I do not know how the people who wish to see the Turners, which are kept in the print room in the rear of the National Gallery, will be conducted in their passage through the gallery to see the pictures. Will they be blindfolded? Will the special guides take them through the gallery, telling them not to look to the right or left until they reach the room where the Turners are kept?

Surely the point is that the Government have taken powers very reluctantly to honour the conditions of the will. I am not sure that the trustees can honour them now. What if somebody who seeks access to the Turners is refused by an attendant who does not properly understand the procedure? There is a danger then that residual legatees who have threatened legal action against the trustees may get the pictures.

There is also the position of the Erskine of Torrie collection which is still unresolved. The Government have climbed down from trying to alter the agreement of 1845. It is their hope that the trustees will agree to alter it. If they do not, will these pictures also be lost to the National Gallery of Scotland?

Further, the Government still have an order, which I hope will come before Parliament, seeking to alter a Treasury minute of 1858 which guarantees free access to the National Museum of Antiquities, whose collection was originally gifted by the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland on condition of free access. They are seeking to alter an Act of 1855 which gives statutory force to a condition of free access on certain days of the week which was proposed by Edinburgh Town Council as patron of the university when it gifted a collection to the forerunner of the museum. The two gifts were not protected in testamentary form but the principle is the same. The conditions of gifts are to be broken by the Government. The concern of many hon. Members has not only been the interference with gifts and conditions solemnly made when given but the effect on future benefactions to the nation.

I can briefly express the debt which the nation owes to the benefactors of the past when I say that benefactions make up two-thirds of the collection of the National Gallery in England and three-quarters of the Tate Gallery and constitute the entire Wallace Collection, which alone is worth over £200 million. The position we have now reached is that if any benefactor in future wishes to leave any substantial work of art to the nation and says, as many benefactors have done in the past, that he wishes it to be available to the whole nation free of charge, the trustees will have to decline the bequest because they cannot honour that condition while the Government impose museum charges upon them.

When we think of the possible cost of this to the nation, how paltry the sum of £900,000 a year becomes. The concessions made by the Government do not amount to that much. They were granted under the pain of defeat. It is significant that they were not made during the lengthy consideration of this matter in Committee, upon mature reflection and after measured argument. They were made because of fear that the Government would lose the Division tonight. They do not alter this grave and fundamental point about the benefactions.

If I had any doubt, if hon. Members doubted whether this was an important point, I refer them to what was said by Professor Francis Haskell, Professor of the History of Art at the University of Oxford, in a letter to The Times on 25th October. He said: Before casting their votes it is greatly to be hoped that Members of both Houses and all parties will recognise the rôle played by past benefactors in the enrichment of our museums and galleries and appreciate the deterrent effect that compulsory entrance charges may well have on certain future benefactors. I do not think I could ask for a better supporting authority.

I turn briefly to the question of the Scottish galleries for which the Secretary of State for Scotland has ministerial responsibility. It is with the Scottish galleries that we see the reduction to absurdity of some of the propositions which the Government have put forward. As hon. Members will appreciate, the attendances at these galleries tend to be lower than the attendances at the major galleries in the City of London. We are told that the amount to be collected for the art galleries in Scotland is about £36,000. If we add in the Royal Scottish Museum, which is of a slightly different character, it would go up to £60,000. Over the whole the cost of collection is over 20 per cent.

For the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, which as many hon. Members will know is situated in the Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh, a beautiful gallery in a beautiful house and setting, the amount to be collected is only £5,000. The cost of collection expressed as a proportion of that is 27 per cent. For the Scottish National Portrait Gallery and the National Museum of Antiquities, taken together because they have the same entrance, the cost of collection is 45 per cent. What madness it is to be taking money from people at a door, imposing a deterrent effect upon their entering galleries and then taking 45 per cent. of what is collected to pay those who collect it.

Another feature of this whole operation has been the method in which it has been carried out. Instead of the Government coming here with a Bill saying that charges had to be made in museums and galleries, they have taken another route They have said that they would remove what they regard as the legal inhibitions to the trustees making charges. Then they have applied a financial sanction to the trustees. Our trustees are on the whole—I think the nation owes them a great debt—men of integrity and knowledge who have served our national institutions well. They find it demeaning to have this sort of financial sanction put upon them by the Government to achieve their policy.

The most recent example of protest against this came from the trustees of the Ulster Museum. I hope that Members who come from that Province and who will be voting in the Division tonight will pay heed to what they said. The trustees explained how their museum was being developed and added that Admission charges threaten the progress gained so far and drastically reduce the value to the public of the museum. I am sure it will not be lost on Members from the Province of Ulster that no charges will be imposed south of the border.

The other question which has exercised us throughout the debate has been that of the free day. I agree entirely with the comments made by the hon. Member for Ipswich (Mr. Money) and the hon. Member for Louth (Mr. Jeffrey Archer), who have been consistent advocates of this proposition from the start. It is ridiculous that one should have to double up on other days in order to get the sort of concessions for free days that have been announced. If the money is to go to the galleries, why cannot the galleries themselves decide whether they have a free day or not? If there is merit in giving the money to the galleries instead of claiming it for the maw of the Treasury, why not leave the decision to the trustees alone? No wonder independent trustees feel fettered and bound when they are not even allowed to take a simple decision like that by a Government determined to follow their policy.

I am sure that many hon. Members opposite expected much more in the way of a free day. I counsel them to be careful before they place too much on the concession about the money going to the galleries. I understood the Secretary of State to say that it had nothing to do with the acquisition money going to the galleries, But, as all hon. Members know, money in addition to the acquisition money goes to the galleries for maintenance of the galleries themselves. We should get an assurance from the Secretary of State for Scotland that the money already allocated for maintenance—and we shall watch for this in the supplementary estimates placed before us—is not going to be interfered with. We want a solemn assurance from the right hon. Gentleman that the money collected at the turnstiles will not be docked, when it comes not only to the acquisition money but also to the money for the maintenance of the museums.

Many hon. Members will be deeply disappointed, having followed the saga in the Press probably every day for a week about what the Government were going to concede as fear of the coming Division grew in their minds, that there has been no concession to the children. Surely if there is a need to raise extra money for the galleries—and this is a paltry contribution—it is wrong to raise it from entrance fees for children. So dogmatic are the Government about this that in the Scottish Gallery of Modern Art, where there have to be admission charges because it is a fairly remote gallery, there are to be attendants on turnstiles to collect 2p from each child coming in. One wonders what sort of state the Government are in that they should be adhering in such a policy. I remind the House that Henry Moore in his biography describes how he first had his interest in sculpture kindled when as a child he went to a public gallery.

If we deny free entrance to children in this mean way because it will reduce the amount collected by £200,000, it is not a defensible policy for the Government. Whatever concessions are made—they are not much in the way of concessions, and I doubt whether many hon. Members opposite with integrity could be bought off by them—for the vast majority of the population there will still be a barrier between them and their own national heritage. The people who gave the great gifts which enrich our national galleries left their works to the galleries not for the delectation of esoteric art lovers but to the people of the country. It has been a great strength of our tradition that people have been willing to do that, but I fear that it is all being put at risk.

The last time that I can detect that a Government seriously considered imposing museum charges was in 1923. Then, Stanley Baldwin thought about it and, on reflection, dropped it. Fifty years later, the present Government have not the realism that he displayed on that occasion. On this occasion, only Parliament can stop it. There are times when it is the function of Parliament not to act, as it does most of the time, as a forum for party political debate but to speak as a whole and say to the Government "Thus far and no further—your policies are wrong, and we will not support them."

We all know that many Governments make mistakes, and in the course of carrying out most of their policy perhaps reasonably sensibly, according to one's point of view, there comes a time when they just go too far, when they do something silly, petty and wrong. I appeal to hon. Members on both sides of the House to show that this is still a free Parliament which can stop a Government by exercising the power which alone resides with us—the power to support the great body of people in this country who are outraged at this proposition and look to Parliament to protect them from it.

9.45 p.m.

The Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. Gordon Campbell)

The various points of view have been made very forcibly in short and pungent speeches. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education and Science dealt with the main points governing the Government's plan to introduce a system of modest charges, and that plan must be viewed in the light of the great increase in the Government's contribution to the arts in general.

Four years ago, in 1969–70, this total was running at about £22 million. In the year 1973–74 it is estimated at about £49 million. Within that last figure about £23 million is allocated to the national museums and galleries.

My right hon. Friend has asked me to point out that in reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Hendon, North (Mr. Gorst) she said that the cost of wages of the staff of the national museums was borne by the Department of the Environment, and that, in fact, she meant the Department of Education and Science.

The proposals for charging are part of a programme for the museums and galleries which includes new buildings and improvements. It also embraces a wide review of the needs of those museums and galleries which are not national institutions.

It has always been customary to make charges for special exhibitions, and these charges do not appear to have discouraged attendance. The Tutankhamun exhibition is a pre-eminent example. In that case 50p did not prevent long queues forming.

We have been one of the few countries which have not had charges in the past. For example, France, Italy and Austria charge in all their museums and galleries, and, as the right hon. Member for Vauxhall (Mr. Strauss) conceded, other countries charge in many of their museums and galleries.

In Britain there has been a system of charging for that part of our national heritage which consists of historic buildings and the treasures that they contain. Examples are Hampton Court Palace, Edinburgh Castle and the Tower of London.

Compared with 1969–70 the Government have been increasing steadily their contribution to the arts. Our aim is to assist the arts in general—music, drama, ballet and the opera, as well as the visual arts. There seems to be no reason why there should be completely free access to the visual arts. Tickets for subsidised music or drama are not issued free. The hon. Member for Lanarkshire, North (Mr. John Smith) lists in the reference books as one of his two recreations the theatre. The Government subsidise national theatres—in the current year to the extent of £3.5 million. But the hon. Gentleman does not expect to have free tickets to the theatre.

During this debate and in recent weeks and months several hon. Members have raised the matter of the Vaughan will. I can say categorically that the Government do not intend to alter any will or bequest in bringing in these charges. In the summer, in the interests of helping the trustees of the galleries, I proposed that the out-of-date terms of a will and a bequest might be changed. But when it became apparent that there were strong feelings that this was undesirable on general grounds, I replaced the relevant Scottish order by another which did not apply to any will or bequest.

The interpretation of the Vaughan will has been questioned. Apparently, the right hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Grimond) did not realise that the main purpose of that will was to protect the drawings from the light because they would otherwise fade. Therefore, the will was designed to arrange that they should be kept in darkness for most of the time. [Interruption.] It is clear that hon. Members do not realise what the purpose of the will was. In Edinburgh it was stipulated that the period of display was one month in the winter, the month of January. The drawings were left subject to the same conditions as those imposed upon the gift"— of Turner drawings— to the National Gallery of Ireland in Dublin. The Dublin conditions were that the drawings were to be exhibited to the public and to be copied subject to the same rules and regulations as the drawings by Turner RA are subjected at the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, and in addition that the drawings be exhibited to the public all at one time free of charge during the month of January in every year … and no longer time—every year, and at all other times to be kept in the cabinet provided for the same. The Fitzwilliam position is that when John Ruskin in 1861 gave his Turner drawings to the Fitzwilliam he expressed the hope that It may be found possible to keep the drawings in the cabinet, and only to show them to persons really interested in art: otherwise retaining them solely for the use of students of the University who may wish to copy them. Continual exposure to light, in the way of exhibition, would infallibly destroy them in a few years.

Dr. Stuttaford

Will people who are interested, as students, in the pictures be able to go that the museum free of charge to study them at times other than when they are on display?

Mr. Campbell

That is exactly what I shall say; I am just coming to that.

The Fitzwilliam has followed Ruskin's wishes for the conservation of the drawings, which are not normally put on display to the public at any time of the year. That is the important difference from Edinburgh. But it has always been prepared to show any of the drawings to any interested applicant on any day of the year that the Museum is open to the public. The drawings are then individually removed from the boxes which have replaced the cabinet.

I understand that the Fitzwilliam regulations empower the Museum Syndicate to prescribe the fees to be paid by those wishing to copy works of art, but that in practice no charge is made to anybody who applies to copy a work of art, unless it be for commercial purposes. I have asked the trustees to make similar arrangements for the Turners at the National Gallery in Edinburgh. I understand that they will be meeting soon to consider that request.

Those Turners are subject to the additional condition, which applies in Edinburgh but not at the Fitzwilliam, that they be exhibited to the public all at one time free of charge during one winter month only, January, in each year. That condition will, of course, be met by free admission to the National Gallery building in question in Edinburgh during that month. During the other months of the year these Turner drawings are normally kept in special boxes in the print room, the original cabinet, like that of the Fitzwilliam, having deteriorated with age. But students and other interested parties may, on application, see or copy them.

I am advised that the reference in the Vaughan will to the Fitzwilliam regulations relates only to copying, and not to both copying and exhibiting, and that the conditions in the will would not preclude a charge for admission to the Turners during the rest of the year. However, if the trustees accede to my suggestion, that would also meet the views of anyone who inclines to the other interpretation.

During the months other than January, when the Turner drawings are not on public display, interested members of the public who wish to see or copy any of them will be able to do so without having first to pay for admission to the National Gallery. I am told that the system at the Fitzwilliam is simple to operate, and in similar circumstances this can be done in Edinburgh. It must be done under supervision. Normally there are one or two students or others a week at the Fitzwilliam who ask to see the Turners.

I am grateful to my hon. Friend the Member for Ipswich (Mr. Money) for his expression of appreciation for the arrangements we have made.

Mr. Grimond


Mr. Campbell

I must move on, because I have to answer some of the other questions raised asked in the debate.

My hon. Friend the Member for Louth (Mr. Jeffrey Archer) raised the question of students and compared the position with that at galleries in Italy. The Government have made arrangements whereby full-time students and scholars will be admitted free by prior arrangement with their sponsoring institutions. We are also considering whether a system of cards can be effectively used.

My hon. Friend also asked about the young and the old. They will be admitted at the reduced charge of 5p, as will be the handicapped, who were not mentioned. Pre-arranged educational parties of young people will be admitted free.

My hon. Friends the Members for Louth and Ipswich referred to the important matter of a free day. The hon. Member for Coventry, North (Mr. Edelman) disagreed with that on the basis that it would cause an overcrowded day. I understand that some museums express this opinion, too.

In the European system there is a much higher rate for the ordinary charge. We have aimed at keeping the general charge low. We think that this is important, I hope that my hon. Friends will agree. Nonetheless, we have made arrangements and agreed that free time will be made available within certain museums and galleries. The Government have made special arrangements for students, the young, and the old, and also for certain free days. In the light of experience and after consultation with all interested persons, the question whether an extra charge to make up for a free day should be continued can and will be reviewed.

The right hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland suggested that benefactors will in future be less willing to bequeath pictures and other works of art to museums and galleries. There is no logical reason why charges should deter them. The concomitant of charging is that the improvement of buildings will be hastened. Furthermore, items will receive greater security through the employment of custodians or the taking out of insurance. This was pointed out by my hon. Friend the Member for Bristol, West (Mr. Robert Cooke). The important point is that the Government have made changes in the tax system which make it more attractive for people to consign works of art to galleries and museums.

Mr. John Smith

What about children?

Mr. Campbell

I have already indicated that children would pay the reduced price of 5p and that pre-arranged educational parties will be allowed free entry.

As my right hon. Friend said, we are prepared to allow each museum to keep the proceeds of the charges for agreed purposes. This is other than for acquisitions, and it will not come from the appropriations in aid.

In the last three years the Government have enabled special funds to be made available for the acquisition of important works of art. Certainly Scotland has had some very valuable acquisitions, as I think hon. Gentlemen opposite representing Scottish constituencies will agree.

The Government have greatly increased the total contribution to the arts, including galleries and museums. In other than the visual arts, those who benefit are expected to make a contribution. The tickets are not free. Certainly, where buildings and ancient monuments are concerned, I remind right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite that the Labour Government doubled the charges for entrance to the Tower of London in March 1970.

I ask the House to reject the motion, which overstates the apprehensions which have been expressed.

Question put, That this House considers the proposed imposition on 1st January of entrance charges to the national museums and galleries inopportune and undesirable.

The House divided: Ayes 3271, Noes 277.
Division No. 11.] AYES [10.0 p.m.
Abse, Leo Fisher, Mrs. Doris (B'ham, Ladywood) Mackie, John
Albu, Austen Fitch, Alan (Wigan) Mackintosh, John P.
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Fletcher, Ted (Darlington) Maclennan, Robert
Armstrong, Ernest Foot, Michael McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.)
Ashley, Jack Ford, Ben McNamara, J. Kevin
Ashton, Joe Forrester, John Mahon, Simon (Bootle)
Atkinson, Norman Fraser, John (Norwood) Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)
Austick, David Freeson, Reginald Marks, Kenneth
Bagier, Gordon, A. T. Galpern, Sir Myer Marquand, David
Barnett, Guy (Greenwich) Garrett, W. E. Marsden, F.
Barnett, Joel (Heywood and Royton) Gilbert, Dr. John Marshall, Dr. Edmund
Baxter, William Ginsburg, David (Dewsbury) Mayhew, Christopher
Beaney, Alan Goldin, John Meacher, Michael
Beith, Alan Gordon Walker, Rt. Hn. P. C. Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert
Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony Wedgwood Gourlay, Harry Millan, Bruce
Bennett, James (Glasgow, Bridgeton) Grant, George (Morpeth) Miller, Dr. M. S.
Bidwell, Sydney Grant, John D. (Islington, E.) Milne, Edward
Bishop, E. S. Griffiths, Eddie (Brightside) Mitchell, R. C. (S'hampton, Itchen)
Blenkinsop, Arthur Grimond, Rt. Hn. J. Molloy, William
Boardman, H. (Leigh) Hamilton, William (Fife, W.) Morgan, Elystan (Cardinganshire)
Booth, Albert Hamling, William Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)
Boothroyd, Miss Betty Hannan, William (G'gow, Maryhill) Morris, Rt. Hn. John (Aberavon)
Bottomley, Rt. Hn. Arthur Hardy, Peter Moyle, Roland
Boyden, James (Bishop Auckland) Harrison, Walter (Wakefield) Mulley, Rt. Hn. Frederick
Bradley, Tom Hart, Rt. Hn. Judith Murray, Ronald King
Broughton, Sir Alfred Hattersley, Roy Oakes, Gordon
Brown, Robert C. (N'c'tle-u-Tyne, W.) Hatton, F. Ogden, Eric
Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan) Healey, Rt. Hn. Denis O'Halloran, Michael
Brown, Ronald (Shoreditch & F'bury) Heffer, Eric S. O'Malley, Brian
Buchan, Norman Hooson, Emlyn Oram, Bert
Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn) Horam, John Orbach, Maurice
Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green) Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas Orme, Stanley
Callaghan, Rt. Hn. James Howell, Denis (Small Heath) Oswald Thomas
Campbell, I. (Dunbartonshire, W.) Huckfield, Leslie Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, Sutton)
Cant, R. B. Hughes, Rt. Hn. Cledwyn (Anglesey) Padley, Walter
Carmichael, Neil Hughes, Mark (Durham) Paget, R. T.
Carter, Ray (Birmingh'm, Northfield) Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen, N.) Palmer, Arthur
Carter-Jones, Lewis (Eccles) Hunter, Adam Pannell, Rt. Hn. Charles
Castle, Rt. Hn. Barbara Irvine, Rt. Hn. Sir Arthur (Edge Hill) Pardoe, John
Clark, David (Colne Valley) Janner, Greville Parker, John (Dagenham)
Cocks, Michael (Bristol, S.) Jay, Rt. Hn. Douglas Pavitt, Laurie
Coleman, Donald Jeger, Mrs. Lena Perry, Ernest G.
Conlan, Bernard Jenkins, Hugh (Putney) Prentice, Rt. Hn. Reg.
Corbet, Mrs. Freda Jenkins, Rt. Hn. Roy (Stechford) Price, William (Rugby)
Cox, Thomas (Wandsworth, C.) Johnson, Carol (Lewsiham, S.) Probert, Arthur
Crawshaw, Richard Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.) Radice, Giles
Cronin, John Johnson, Walter (Derby, S.) Reed, D. (Sedgefield)
Crosland, Rt. Hn. Anthony Johnston, Russell (Inverness) Rees, Merlyn (Leeds, S.)
Crossman, Rt. Hn. Richard Jones, Rt. Hn. Sir Elwyn (W. Ham, S.) Rhodes, Geoffrey
Jones, Gwynoro (Carmarthen) Richard, Ivor
Cunningham, Dr. J. A. (Whitehaven) Jones, T. Alec (Rhondda, W.) Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Dalyell, Tam Judd Frank Roberts, Rt. Hn. Goronwy (Caernarvon)
Darling, Rt. Hn. George Kaufman, Gerald Robertson, John (Paisley)
Davidson, Arthur Kelley, Richard Roderick, Caerwyn E. (Brc'n & R'dnor)
Davies, Denzil (Llanelly) Kerr, Russell Rodgers, William (Stockton-on-Tees)
Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.) Kinnock, Neil Rose, Paul B.
Davies, Ifor (Gower) Lambie, David Ross, Rt. Hn. William (Kilmarnock)
Davis, Clinton (Hackney, C.) Lamborn, Harry Rowlands, Ted
Davis, Terry (Bromsgove) Lamond, James Sandelson, Neville
Deakins, Eric Latham, Arthur Sheldon, Robert (Ashton-under-Lyne)
de Freitas, Rt. Hn. Sir Geoffrey Lawson, George Shore, Rt. Hn. Peter (Stepney)
Dell, Rt. Hn. Edmund Leadbitter, Ted Short, Rt. Hn. Edward (N'ctle-u-Tyne)
Dempsey, James Lee, Rt. Hn. Frederick Short, Mrs. Renée (W'hampton, N. E.)
Doig, Peter Leonard, Dick Silkin Rt. Hn. John (Deptford)
Dormand, J. D. Lestor, Miss Joan Silkin, Hn. S. C. (Dulwich)
Douglas, Dick (Stirlingshire, E.) Lever, Rt. Hn. Harold Sillars, James
Douglas-Mann, Bruce Lewis, Arthur (W. Ham, N.) Silverman, Julius
Driberg, Tom Lewis, Ron (Carlisle) Skinner, Dennis
Dunn, James A. Lipton, Marcus Smith, Cyril (Rochdale)
Dunnett, Jack Lomas, Kenneth Smith, John (Lanarkshire, N.)
Eadie, Alex Loughlin, Charles Spearing, Nigel
Edelman, Maurice Lyon, Alexander W. (York) Spriggs, Leslie
Edwards, Robert (Bilston) Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.) Stallard, A. W.
Edwards, William (Merioneth) Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson Steel, David
Ellis, Tom McBride, Neil Stewart, Donald (Western Isles)
English, Michael McCartney, Hugh Stewart, Rt. Hn. Michael (Fulham)
Evans, Fred McElhone, Frank Stoddart, David (Swindon)
Ewing, Harry McGuire, Michael Stonehouse, Rt. Hn. John
Faulds, Andrew Machin, George Stott, Roger
Fernyhough, Rt. Hn. E. Mackenzie, Gregor Strang, Gavin
Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R. Varley, Eric G. Williams, Mrs. Shirley (Hitchin)
Stuttaford, Dr. Tom Wainwright, Edwin Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)
Summerskill, Hn. Dr. Shirley Walden, Brian (B'm'ham, All Saints) Williams, W. T. (Warrington)
Swain, Thomas Walker, Harold (Doncaster) Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)
Taverne, Dick Wallace, George Wilson, Rt. Hn. Harold (Huyton)
Thomas, Rt. Hn. George (Cardiff, W.) Watkins, David Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)
Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery) Weitzman, David Woodhouse, Hn. Christopher
Thorpe, Rt. Hn. Jeremy Wellbeloved, James Woof, Robert
Tinn, James Wells, William (Walsall, N.)
Tope, Graham Whitehead, Phillip TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Torney, Tom Whitlock, William Mr. Joseph Harper and
Tuck, Raphael Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick Mr. James Hamilton.
Adley, Robert Elliott, R. W. (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, N.) Jopling, Michael
Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash) Emery, Peter Joseph, Rt. Hn. Sir Keith
Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead) Eyre, Reginald Kaberry, Sir Donald
Amery, Rt. Hn. Julian Fell, Anthony Kellett-Bowman, Mrs. Elaine
Astor, John Fenner, Mrs. Peggy Kershaw, Anthony
Atkins, Humphrey Fidler, Michael Kimball, Marcus
Awdry, Daniel Finsberg, Geoffrey (Hampstead) King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.)
Baker, Kenneth (St. Marrylebone) Fisher, Nigel (Surbiton) King, Tom (Bridgwater)
Baker, W. H. K. (Banff) Fletcher, Alex (Edinburgh North) Kinsey, J. R.
Balniel, Rt. Hn. Lord Fletcher-Cooke, Charles Kirk, Peter
Barber, Rt. Hn. Anthony Fookes, Miss Janet Knight, Mrs. Jill
Batsford, Brian Fortescue, Tim Knox, David
Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton Foster, Sir John Lamont, Norman
Bell, Ronald Fowler, Norman Lane, David
Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport) Fox, Marcus Langford-Holt, Sir John
Benyon, W. Fry, Peter Le Marchant, Spencer
Berry, Hn. Anthony Galbraith, Hn. T. G. D. Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)
Biffen, John Gardner, Edward Lloyd, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey (Sut'n C'dfield)
Bigg-Davison, John Gibson-Watt, David Lloyd, Ian (P'tsm'th, Langstone)
Blaker, Peter Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, C.) Longden, Sir Gilbert
Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S. W.) Gilmour, Sir John (Fife, E.) Loveridge, John
Body, Richard Glyn, Dr. Alan Luce, R. N.
Boscawen, Hn. Robert Godber, Rt. Hn. J. B. McAdden, Sir Stephen
Bossom, Sir Clive Goodhew, Victor MacArthur, Ian
Bowden, Andrew Gorst, John McCrindle, R. A.
Braine, Sir Bernard Gower, Raymond McLaren, Martin
Bray, Ronald Grant, Anthony (Harrow, C.) Macmillan, Rt. Hn. Maurice (Farnham)
Brewis, John Gray, Hamish McNair-Wilson, Michael
Brinton, Sir Tatton Green, Alan McNair-Wilson, Patrick (New Forest)
Brocklebank-Fowler, Christopher Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds) Madel, David
Brown, Sir Edward (Bath) Grylls, Michael Marples, Rt. Hn. Ernest
Bruce-Gardyne, J. Gummer, J. Selwyn Marten, Neil
Bryan, Sir Paul Gurden, Harold Mather, Carol
Maude, Angus
Buchanan-Smith, Alick (Angus, N&M) Hall, Miss Joan (Keighley) Maudling, Rt. Hn. Reginald
Buck, Antony Hall-David, A. G. F. Mawby, Ray
Bullus, Sir Eric Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury) Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.
Burden, F. A. Hannam, John (Exeter) Meyer, Sir Anthony
Butler, Adam (Bosworth) Harrison, Brian (Maldon) Mills, Peter (Torrington)
Campbell, Rt. Hn. G. (Moray & Nairn) Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye) Miscampbell, Norman
Carlisle, Mark Harvie Anderson, Miss Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)
Carr, Rt. Hn. Robert Haselhurst, Alan Moate, Roger
Cary, Sir Robert Hastings, Stephen Money, Ernle
Channon, Paul Havers, Sir Michael Monks, Mrs. Connie
Chataway, Rt. Hn. Christopher Hawkins, Paul Monro, Hector
Chichester-Clark, R. Hay, John Montgomery, Fergus
Churchill, W. S. Hayhoe, Barney More, Jasper
Clark, William (Surrey, E.) Heath, Rt. Hn. Edward Morgan, Geraint (Denbigh)
Cockeram, Eric Heseltine, Michael Morgan-Giles, Rear-Adm.
Cooke, Robert Hicks, Robert Morrison, Charles
Cooper, A. E. Higgins, Terence L. Mudd, David
Cordle, John Hiley, Joseph Neave, Airey
Corfield, Rt. Hn. Sir Frederick Hill John E. B. (Norfolk, S.) Nicholls, Sir Harmar
Cormack, Patrick Holland, Philip Noble, Rt. Hn. Michael
Costain, A. P. Holt, Miss Mary Normanton, Tom
Crowder, F. P. Hordern, Peter Nott, John
Davies, Rt. Hn. John (Knutsford) Hornby, Richard Onslow, Cranley
d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry Hornsby-Smith, Rt. Hn. Dame Patricia Oppenheim, Mrs. Sally
d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Maj.-Gen. Jack Howe, Rt. Hn. Sir Geoffrey (Reigate) Page, Rt. Hn. Graham (Crosby)
Dean, Paul Howell, David (Gulidford) Parkinson, Cecil
Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F. Howell, Ralph (Norfolk, N.) Percival, Ian
Dixon, Piers Hutchison, Michael Clark Peyton, Rt. Hn. John
Dodds-Parker, Sir Douglas Iremonger, T. L. Pike, Miss Mervyn
Douglas-Home, Rt. Hn. Sir Alec Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye) Pink, R. Bonner
Drayson, Burnaby James, David Pounder, Rafton
du Cann, Rt. Hn. Edward Jenkin, Rt. Hn. Patrick (Woodford) Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch
Dykes, Hugh Jennings, J. C. (Burton) Price, David (Eastleigh)
Eden, Rt. Hn. Sir John Jessel, Toby Prior, Rt. Hn. J. M. L.
Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke) Johnson Smith, G. (E. Grinstead) Proudfoot, Wilfred
Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton) Jones, Arthur (Northants, S.) Pym, Rt. Hn. Francis
Quennell, Miss J. M. Shersby, Michael Trafford, Dr. Anthony
Raison, Timothy Simeons, Charles Trew, Peter
Ramsden, Rt. Hn. James Sinclair, Sir George Tugendhat, Christopher
Rawlinson, Rt. Hn. Sir Peter Skeet, T. H. H. Turton, Rt. Hn. Sir Robin
Redmond, Robert Smith, Dudley (W'wick & L'mington) van Straubenzee, W. R.
Reed, Laurance (Bolton, E.) Soref, Harold Vaughan, Dr. Gerard
Rees, Peter (Dover) Speed, Keith Waddington, David
Rees-Davies, D. R. Spence, John Walder, David (Clitheroe)
Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David Sproat, Iain Walker, Rt. Hn. Peter (Worcester)
Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon Stainton, Keith Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek
Ridley, Hn. Nicholas Stodart, Anthony (Edinburgh, W.) Walters, Dennis
Ridsdale, Julian Stokes, John Ward, Dame Irene
Rippon, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey Sutcliffe, John Wells, John (Maidstone)
Roberts, Wyn (Conway) Tapsell, Peter Wiggin, Jerry
Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey) Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne) Wilkinson, John
Rost, Peter Taylor, Edward M. (G'gow, Cathcart) Winterton, Nicholas
Royle, Anthony Taylor, Frank (Moss Side) Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick
Russell, Sir Ronald Taylor, Robert (Croydon, N. W.) Wood, Rt. Hn. Richard
St. John-Stevas, Norman Tebbit, Norman Worsley, Marcus
Sainsbury, Tim Temple, John M. Wylie, Rt. Hn. N. R.
Scott, Nicholas Thatcher, Rt. Hn. Mrs. Margaret Younger, Hn. George
Scott-Hopkins, James Thomas, John Stradling (Monmouth) TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby) Thomas, Rt. Hn. Peter (Hendon, S.) Mr. Bernard Weatherill and
Shelton, William (Clapham) Tilney, Sir John Mr. Walter Clegg.

Question accordingly negatived.