HC Deb 26 March 1990 vol 170 cc13-4
64. Mr. Butler

To ask the Minister for the Arts what is his latest assessment of the contribution of private patronage to the arts.

Mr. Luce

Precise figures are not available for private donations to the arts, although there have been a number of outstanding acts of generosity such as that of Mr. Tsui to the Victoria and Albert and the Sainsbury family to the National gallery.

Mr. Butler

Does my right hon. Friend accept that the announcement about gift aid in the Budget could improve funding to the arts in the future?

Mr. Luce

My hon. Friend is right. The arts world has been asking for a long time that we provide better tax facilities to encourage more individual and corporate giving to the arts. I join my hon. Friend in welcoming most warmly the decision by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer which will help enormously to encourage the culture of giving and the growing number of individuals and corporations who wish to contribute to the expansion of the arts.

Mr. Bermingham

Does the Minister agree that at a time when the export of works of art is increasing, he should have a word with the Chancellor of the Exchequer about persuading the Inland Revenue to be more generous in accepting works of art in settlement of inheritance tax?

Mr. Luce

That is an important point. There is concern to preserve the most important parts of our heritage. I hope that the hon. Gentleman agrees that the acceptance-in-lieu arrangements work extremely well. There is a reserve of £million,in addition to my budget of £2 million, which has been drawn on considerably and is working well, and there are the private treaty sale arrangements. All those measures, together with the work of the National Heritage Memorial Fund, provide considerable sums of money to enable us to preserve our heritage.