HL Deb 08 November 1999 vol 606 cc128-9WA
Lord Freyberg

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How important paintings such as Botticelli's "The Virgin adoring the Christ Child" can be saved for the nation from going abroad if the public funds once earmarked to halt such exports are no longer available. [HL4266]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

Under this Government, grant-in-aid to the national museums and galleries has been increased: it is for trustees to decide their spending priorities. The acceptance in lieu and private treaty sale schemes continue to provide owners with an incentive to offer outstanding works of art to the nation in lieu of inheritance tax. Since its establishment, the Heritage Lottery Fund has contributed very large sums towards major acquisitions by the museums and galleries (such as £8.2 million for George Stubbs's "Whistlejacket"). It is however, for the trustees of the fund to judge the priority to be accorded to any particular application.