HC Deb 12 July 1977 vol 935 cc99-101W
Mr. Strauss

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether she will extend the facilities available for loans from the national collections.

Mrs. Shirley Williams

Yes. I am aware that the high cost of insurance of objects lent by the national collections to local museums and galleries prevents many loans from taking place even where both parties are otherwise ready to make the loan. The Government have, therefore, agreed that, subject to conditions of suitable care and security, and to the carrying by the borrowing institution of a small liability in cases of loss or reparable damage, loans may be made at the discretion of the national collections without the payment of insurance. Details of the scheme, which will at least for the present apply only to the English national collections are as follows:

  1. (1) The total value of objects to be lent will not at any time exceed £30 million, and there will be a limit of Li million on the total loans at any time to any one institution.
  2. (2) Each loan must be the subject of a specific agreement with the lending institution for a specific period.
  3. (3) The receiving institution will have to meet the recommendations of the Security Adviser to the National Collections, who will be consulted in each case.
  4. (4) The scheme depends upon the carrying out of the Security Adviser's conditions, and failure to continue to comply with them will nullify the agreement.
  5. (5) The borrowing institution will agree to meet, in any case of loss or reparable damage to any object, a minimum liability of £100, but for objects of value greater than £4,000 there will be a liability of 2½ per cent. up to a total of £10,000, when the contingent liability will be £250. For objects between £10,000 and £25,000 the liability will be £250 and will rise thereafter at 1 per cent. of the total value. The borrowing institution will undertake to pursue its rights against third parties in the event of damage or loss.
  6. (6) The lending institutions do not at present contemplate lending objects of much more than about £80,000 in value.
  7. (7) Loans when agreed will be notified to the Department of Education and Science so that a running tally of total liabilities can be kept.

Payments under the scheme will be subject to the authority of Parliament.

There will be an annual review of the working of the scheme and of the value of the objects on loan.