HC Deb 26 June 1995 vol 262 cc559-60
17. Mr. Carrington

To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what proposals he has to enable the national museums to expand their collections of fine art. [28760]

Mr. Sproat

It is for the trustees of individual museums to decide on acquisitions. The Government have a number of measures that help to develop the national collections. They include the funding of the national heritage memorial fund, Waverley system of export controls and important tax concessions. The national collections may also benefit from the net proceeds of the national lottery.

Mr. Carrington

Now that national lottery money seems to be used, rightly, to save Waverley-quality items being exported, the problem in our national museums is keeping collections balanced. They must obviously include Waverley-quality items but also items of lesser quality, to show the full range of fine arts. Will my hon. Friend review the purchase money available to museums, to ensure that they are able to keep a balanced collection in future?

Mr. Sproat

My hon. Friend is entirely right to stress the importance of balanced collections. He may be sure that the Government keep all such matters under constant review.