HC Deb 09 November 1955 vol 545 cc198-9W
Mr. Gower

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he is aware of opinion in Wales that the National Library of Wales, the National Museum of Wales and the Welsh Folk Museum, St. Fagan's, Glamorgan, should each be afforded the status appropriate to national institutions; what action he is taking; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. R. A. Butler

I am well aware of the prestige and quality of these institutions, and of the high esteem in which they are held throughout Great Britain. I would like to refer to my right hon. Friend's reply to a Question about the National Library of Wales on 3rd November, and to repeat that at no time has any proposition been made which in any way affects the national status of either the National Library of Wales or the National Museum of Wales. It was merely proposed that staff recruited by them in future should be paid on the same basis as civil servants in the same localities. This would give to the staff in Cardiff the rates which would be appropriate in Edinburgh and to the staff in Aberystwyth the rates which would be appropriate in Oxford or Cambridge.

As my right hon. Friend explained, civil servants are paid "London," "Intermediate" or "Provincial" rates, according to where they work, but this implies no differentiation in status, either of the staff or of the establishment in which they are employed. The staff of other institutions in Great Britain which enjoy national status are not, if on civil service rates of pay, given the special rates which apply in London. Those rates exist for reasons which have no connection with status but are purely economic.

Letters from the authorities of the National Library and the National Museum have been sent to the Treasury asking that the proposals should be reconsidered. Meanwhile I have taken note of the position and would ask the hon. Member to await the outcome of these requests by the authorities.