HC Deb 07 March 1983 vol 38 c562
30. Mr. Neubert

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what has been the increase in the total grant allocation to the Victoria and Albert museum in 1983–84 over 1982–83.

Mr. Channon

The estimates submitted to Parliament provide for a total allocation to the Victoria and Albert museum in 1983–84 of £10,456,000, an increase of 12.5 per cent. over the corresponding figure for 1982–83.

Mr. Neubert

I welcome that substantial increase in support for the V and A. What new developments can we expect at the V and A this coming year?

Mr. Channon

My hon. Friend will be aware that next week will see the opening of the Henry Cole building, which will be the greatest extension of the V and A in 70 years and a major step in the history of the museum. I assure my hon. Friend that the taxpayer is getting good value for money.

Mr. Whitehead

While I welcome the admirable development of the Henry Cole building, may I ask the Minister to encourage the V and A to take up once again the touring role, which it used to follow rather more extensively than it does now?

Mr. Channon

Again, that will be a matter for the trustees of the museum once they come into being. We shall have an opportunity to discuss that elsewhere.

Sir Anthony Fell

Would it be possible for my right hon. Friend to see that the management runs the Victoria and Albert museum, instead of the staff?

Mr. Channon

Again, that is an issue that is not irrelevant to the discussions in Committee on the National Heritage [Lords] Bill. The Government's intention is that the trustees should be responsible for the museum. Although they will delegate some things to the staff, it is the trustees who will carry responsibility for the policy of the new museum.

Mr. Ray Powell

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Recently it was suggested that Welsh Question Time be curtailed. However, on the Order Paper today there are six questions from Welsh Members not yet called, and the time for questions has elapsed. In addition, one of the principal questions deals with the miners' strike in Wales, which has not been mentioned during Welsh questions. This time should have been afforded. I hope that the hon. Member who suggested that Welsh Question Time should be reduced will bear in mind that there are Welsh Members still waiting to be called today.

Mr. Speaker

I allowed the hon. Gentleman to get that off his chest.