HC Deb 04 March 1985 vol 74 cc653-4
26. Mr. Alan Howarth

asked the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State answering in respect of the Arts if he will make a statement on the Government's policy for preventing the loss to the nation of important and irreplaceable elements of the national heritage.

Mr. Waldegrave

As the House will be aware, the Government announced on 21 February their intention to add £25 million this financial year to the National Heritage Memorial Fund. This is a major practical demonstration of our concern for the national heritage.

Mr. Howarth

I offer my warmest congratulations to the Government on the reprieve of Keddlestone Hall, Weston Park, and Nostell Priory. Will my hon. Friend now turn his attention to equally good effect to future provision for the acceptance of pre-eminent items in lieu of capital transfer tax? Will he and his noble Friend make strenuous representations to the Chancellor of the Exchequer so that, in the event of the Chancellor finding it impossible to abolish the tax altogether on 19 March, future provision for acceptances in lieu will at least be at a worthwhile level rather than at the derisory level intended?

Mr. Waldegrave

I shall draw those remarks to the attention of my noble Friend. In the current year, the AIL provisions have brought some attractive gains to the country, such as works by Sir Jacob Epstein, Renoir, Barbara Hepworth and others. Many less spectacular but useful items have also been accepted.

Mr. Fisher

Does the Minister agree that the Cottesloe theatre is an important part of the national heritage? Will he congratulate the GLC on having the guts to fight for it?

Mr. Waldegrave

We should all be happy if the GLC were able to find the money while meeting its legal obligations to set a rate. That would be useful.

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