HC Deb 27 July 1998 vol 317 cc57-8W
15. Dr. Iddon

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how the Government will extend access to national and designated museums. [50781]

Mr. Chris Smith

Last Friday I announced the biggest increase in cultural funding ever seen in this country. This included £100 million for museums and galleries. Subject to achieving clear targets for efficiency and reform, this will enable Trustees of the major national collections—including those which currently charge—to introduce free access for children from next year, for pensioners in the following year, and universal free entry in 2001.

A £15 million challenge fund will be established to fund new investment in the 43 designated museums around the country which are officially recognised as housing collections of pre-eminent importance.