HC Deb 17 March 1982 vol 20 c110W
Mr. Freud

asked the Secretary of State for Trade, pursuant to his reply to the hon. Member for Isle of Ely of 10 March, why it is the policy of Her Majesty's Government not to disclose particulars of export licences for works of art; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Peter Rees

[pursuant to his reply, 15 March 1982; c. 1]: The Department of Trade issues about 4,000 export licences a year for works of art and antiques valued at £8,000 or over; most items of lesser value can be exported freely under open general licence. The annual reports of the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art, which are laid before Parliament, cover the operation of the control system in general and give details of specific applications considered by the Committee. The effectiveness of the licensing control system depends largely upon the co-operation of exporters and the Government would be reluctant to endanger this by a greater degree of disclosure.