§ Mr. Richard Page
asked the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State answering in respect of the Arts if he will make a statement about the future administration of the Government's scheme for accepting works of art in lieu of tax and for indemnifying owners of works of art who lend to appropriate bodies for public exhibition.
§ Mr. Waldegrave
The acceptance of works of art in lieu of tax and the provision of indemnity cover for public exhibitions call for detailed casework and for consultation with the Government's expert advisers. As from 1 April 1985, it has been decided that these activities can be most effectively co-ordinated by the Museums and Galleries Commission. At present the commission provides advice on the allocation to museums and galleries of works of art which the Government accept in lieu of tax; it also gives advice on the public interest and security aspects of the indemnities for which my right hon. and noble Friend the Minister for the Arts is responsible. From 1 April the commission will take responsibility for the day-to-day administration of acceptances of works of art in lieu of tax, and for the indemnity scheme operated by the Minister for the Arts and the Secretaries of State for Scotland and Wales. The policy and decision making responsibilities of Ministers for these activities will remain unchanged. After 1 April applications for indemnities should be sent direct to the Museums and Galleries Commission: offers of works of art and other heritage property should continue to be made through the capital taxes offices in the first instance.