HC Deb 21 January 1993 vol 217 cc409-10W
Mr. Dalyell

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) what plans he has to review the 1910 agreements whereby the Royal Scottish Academy uses the Royal Scottish Heritage Building for its diploma show;

(2) what representations he has had about better value for money in relation to funds disbursed by the Scottish Office to the Royal Scottish Academy, in relation to the building on the Mound;

(3) whether he will make arrangements for experts from the Scottish Office to examine and assess the state of the roof of the Royal Scottish Academy and the state of the fabric of the building;

(4) whether he permits the use of Government indemnity for exhibits within the Royal Scottish Academy; and what assessment he has made of the security and environmental controls for pictures for which Her Majesty's Government are responsible, displayed in the Royal Scottish Academy;

(5) how much public money from his vote went to the Royal Scottish Academy in 1989, 1990, 1991 and 1992.

Sir Hector Monro

[holding answer 11 January 1993]: No Scottish Office funds are paid direct to the Royal Scottish Academy. Responsibility for the management of the building rests, under the provisions of the National Galleries of Scotland Act 1906, with the trustees of the national galleries of Scotland who receive grant-in-aid from the Scottish Office to carry out their functions. Details of expenditure on individual buildings have been recorded only since the financial year 1990–91 since when the following sums have been spent by the national galleries of Scotland specifically on the Royal Scottish Academy building:

1990–91 66,091
1991–92 153,194
11992–93 45,131
1to date

This expenditure has covered the costs of minor maintenance works; rates, heating and lighting and other running costs; and works related to exhibitions.

My right hon. Friend has acknowledged for some time that the fabric of the building is in need of repair. Once the future shared use of the building has been clarified in the light of arrangements laid down in the National Galleries of Scotland (Appropriation of Buildings) Order 1910 and he has received firm proposals from the national galleries of Scotland on the exact nature of the works required, he will consider what resources can be provided and on what timescale. We would expect the national galleries of Scotland to base proposals for building works on a thorough examination of the building by appropriate professional advisers.

The Government indemnity scheme enables the Government to underwrite the risk of loss of, or damage to, art objects loaned for the public benefit. Under section 16 of the National Heritage Act 1980, an indemnity is given only where appropriate arrangements are made for the safety of the object while it is on loan. These considerations would apply in the case of any painting to be exhibited in the Royal Scottish Academy for which an indemnity was sought.

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