§ Mr. Martlew
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the procedure by which his Department informs the public of works of art where inheritance tax exemptions have been agreed for granting of public access; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Dorrell
[holding answer 3 July 1992]: Public access to works of art granted exemption from inheritance tax may be provided in a number of ways. The publicity arrangements will differ depending on the way chosen.
The owner may arrange to exhibit the object in a house or room which is open to the public for an agreed number of days each year; appropriate publicity for the opening of the house would be required. The owner may lend the object to a public collection for display on a long-term basis: publicity would then be the responsibility of the curator of this collection.
Alternatively, the owner may arrange viewing by appointment provided he is also willing to lend the object on request to a public collection. All objects which can be viewed by appointment are publicised by means of an entry in the register of conditionally exempt property held by the National Art Library in the Victoria and Albert museum in London. Copies of this register are also available for consultation in the National Library of Scotland in Edinburgh, the National museum of Wales in 525W Cardiff and the Ulster museum in Belfast. The Inland Revenue is currently carrying out a review, with the Department of National Heritage, of ways in which improvements can be made to the publicity given to this register as well as improvements to the quality of the entries and accessibility to the register. The conclusions of this review will be announced before the end of this year.