HC Deb 30 January 1973 vol 849 cc356-7W
Mr. Faulds

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if she will seek powers to set up a national register of objects of historic and/or artistic importance in private collections in Great Britain.

Mr. St. John-Stevas

No register of objects in private collections could be complete without some form of compulsory survey. I am satisfied that any advantages which might flow from such an operation, which would be extremely expensive, would be outweighed by the inconvenience and loss of privacy for the individual owner, by complications relating to the transfer of objects, and by the very great difficulty in seeking to define what are objects of historic or artistic importance. The national museums and galleries keep track of important objects in their specialist fields which are in private ownership.