HC Deb 18 June 1979 vol 968 cc905-6
29. Mr. Cormack

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster whether he is satisfied with the present restrictions on the export of works of art; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. St. John-Stevas

Yes, Sir.

Mr. Cormack

I thank my right hon. Friend for that reply. May I ask him to consider two matters? First, the recent increase in VAT will tend to encourage the export of works of art. Secondly, there is grave concern about the export of Church and other ecclesiastical treasures. Will my right hon. Friend set up a working party to look into this whole issue?

Mr. St. John-Stevas

My hon. Friend may be a little pessimistic about the effect of the recent increase in VAT in this regard. I share his concern about Church treasures. I do not know that I can set up a working party, but if he would be kind enough to come and discuss the matter with me perhaps we could form a working party by ourselves.

Mr. Adley

My right hon. Friend has given us some encouragement this afternoon, leading us to believe that works of art include part of our industrial heritage. I refer again to those works of art in which the hon. Member for Keighley (Mr. Cryer) and I are interested. Will my right hon. Friend consult the main-line steam operators or others involved in railway preservation, who might be able to tell him what they believe should be preserved?

Mr. St. John-Stevas

Yes, Sir. One should have as wide a definition of works and objects of art as possible. My working definition stretches from Church treasures to the industrial heritage, and I am prepared to widen it as circumstances require. After all, art is what one enjoys.

Back to
Forward to