§ 4. Mr. Andrew Dismore (Hendon) (Lab)
If he will make a statement on the support his Department gives to the RAF museum, Hendon. 
§ The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence (Mr. Ivor Caplin)
The Ministry of Defence sponsors the RAF museum as a non-departmental public body and provides a grant in aid to meet the majority of the museum's running costs. Last year the grant in aid was £6.8 million. In addition, we have supported the museum with various development projects, and most recently we earmarked £1 million in capital funding for a new development at the Cosford site to house an exhibition of the cold war years.
§ Mr. Dismore
Does my hon. Friend agree that the decision two or three years ago to find additional resources to enable the museum to allow free admission has been extremely successful? Visitor numbers have doubled, with 250,000 attending Hendon and a similar number visiting Cosford—half a million visitors between the two sites. Since the Milestones of Flight and the restored Grahame-White aircraft factory opened—
§ Mr. Dismore
I was going on to suggest, Mr. Speaker, that you might like to visit the museum yourself to see how well it is doing. I had expected to ask my hon. Friend the Minister to put his hand in his pocket again to enable some of the galleries to be opened, but I am pleased to say that the money has now come through, so the museum can be fully opened. The museum is grateful to my hon. Friend for that additional help.
§ Mr. Caplin
As always, I am delighted to thank my hon. Friend for the brevity of his question. I very much enjoyed my visit to his constituency in February when we were campaigning in a local council by-election, and during my visit we drove past the RAF museum. The RAF is rightly proud of its heritage and, as I am sure my hon. Friend will agree following his visit a couple of weeks ago, the museum provides an excellent showcase for that. The relationship with the RAF is mutually beneficial, since the museum actively promotes the Royal Air Force to the general public, as well as to aspiring airmen and airwomen. It is worth noting that the policy of free admission and access for all to both national museums and RAF museums is a policy of this Government, reinforced by the Chancellor's recent spending review. We are proud of that policy, but the Opposition continue to object.
§ Mr. James Gray (North Wiltshire) (Con)
While the whole House will be pleased to hear about the support that the Government are giving to the RAF museum, does the Minister agree that if the cuts to the RAF that his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State is to 8 announce on Wednesday are as deep and damaging as we all believe they will be, the spending on the RAF museum will have to increase by an enormous amount?
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. I hope that hon. Members will not revert to a previous question in their supplementary.
§ Mr. Caplin
I agree, Mr. Speaker. I was about to give the hon. Member for North Wiltshire (Mr. Gray) the same advice as I gave to the hon. Member for South Staffordshire (Sir Patrick Cormack) earlier about not believing all the speculation.