HL Deb 15 December 1998 vol 595 cc138-9WA
Lord Freyberg

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they approve of the lease of works of art from the Arts Council to the Marriott Hotel at County Hall; and whether they intend to encourage those in charge of public collections to increase their revenue by leasing works of art to private commercial organisations. [HL201]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

The decision to lend works from its collection to the Marriott Hotel in County Hall was taken by the Arts Council independently of Ministers and only after careful consideration by its own Visual Arts Advisory Panel. My right honourable friend the Secretary of State understands that the Arts Council decided to do this exceptionally and that it is not its general policy to loan works commercially to other organisations.

My right honourable friend does not consider the Arts Council's decision in this instance as setting a precedent for our public collections. The stewardship of works of art or artefacts held by the national museums and galleries remains a matter for the trustees of each institution, and Ministers will not seek to intervene.