HC Deb 11 March 1998 vol 308 cc214-5W
Mr. Charles Kennedy

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) what account he took, in his recent appointment of new trustees of the National Galleries of Scotland, of the individual views of those appointed towards the establishment of a National Gallery of Scottish Art in Glasgow; if he will assess the financial implications of the policy of establishing such a gallery for the outreach programme involving municipal galleries; and if he will make a statement; [31930]

(2) if he will make a statement on the future of the outreach project in respect of the loaning of centrally held art exhibits to municipal galleries, indicating what recent discussions he has had on the matter with the trustees of the National Galleries of Scotland. [31931]

Mr. Galbraith

[holding answer 2 March 1998]: In making appointments to the Board of Trustees, my right hon. Friend is obliged by the National Galleries of Scotland Act 1906 to have regard to the desirability of appointing people with knowledge or experience of Fine Arts, or of management, industrial relations, administration or of any other subject which would be of use to the Board in exercising their functions. He also takes into account other factors such as the gender and geographic balance of the Board as a whole. He does not take account of the views of candidates on any particular aspect of the Board's business.

It is a matter for the Board of Trustees to consider in the first instance the financial implications of any policies which they are contemplating or are pursuing. Where firm, and coated, proposals are presented to my right hon. Friend which require adjustment of existing levels of grant-in-aid he would, first of all, have to be convinced of the merits of the proposals in policy and other relevant terms and, thereafter, to be in a position to provide any additional funding required—taking account of available resources and other competing bids for public funds.

As far as the proposed National Gallery of Scottish Art and Design is concerned, the Board of Trustees are aware of the Government's view that the capital costs of the project would need to be met from non-Government sources and that half of the running costs for at least the first four years of operation would have to be met from private sources. They are also aware that the provision of the balance of the running costs from public funds would be a matter for consideration in future public expenditure rounds.

The Board of Trustees at the invitation of the then Secretary of State agreed in May 1997 to consider a scheme for lending works of art to municipal and other suitable galleries. My right hon. Friend understands that the Trustees are giving consideration to a possible scheme taking account of resource requirements and he awaits their proposals.

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