HC Deb 05 February 1996 vol 271 cc1-2
1. Mr. Pike

To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what proposals she has to make additional resources available to working industrial museums. [11756]

The Minister of State, Department of National Heritage (Mr. Iain Sproat)

Government support for independent and local authority museums is distributed via various bodies that we fund, including the Museums and Galleries Commission and the network of area museums councils. It is for these bodies to decide on the support to be given to industrial museums from within their overall grant in aid allocations.

Mr. Pike

Will the Minister visit the Queen's street mill in my constituency? His visit would underline to him both the need to keep that type of museum in operation, open and working, and the considerable financial costs that are incurred in keeping such a museum in operation.

Mr. Sproat

I would very much like to receive an invitation from the hon. Gentleman to visit that museum. I know that it will be a splendid museum when it is reopened, I hope, during the summer. The Government have given about £200,000 for refurbishment of the museum, including European regional development funding. I am glad that we have been able to do so and I look forward to the museum being splendidly reopened.

Dr. Spink

Will my hon. Friend confirm that the national lottery will make available to all museums a new source of funds, which will be available to working industrial museums? I am sure that he will agree that those museums are an important part of our heritage. Is my hon. Friend able to suggest why Opposition Members are so churlish as not to acknowledge the impact of the national lottery on our museums?

Mr. Sproat

About 60 museums and galleries have benefited from national lottery funds by about £98.6 million already. The lottery is a great addition to our ability to support museums. We already give about £24 million a year to the science museum and the Manchester museum. We recently funded a paper on how to look after working objects, which are a splendid part of our heritage.