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Works Of Art

Volume 974: debated on Tuesday 27 November 1979

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asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster whether, bearing in mind paragraph 58 of the Third Report of the Expenditure Committee (Environment Sub-Committee) of Session 1977–78, he proposes to make use in due course of the Standing Commission on Museums and Galleries in order to ascertain, with the assistance of appropriate expert assessors selected ad hoc in each case by that commission to advise it, the preeminence or otherwise of works of art offered to the Commissioners of Inland Revenue in satisfaction of capital transfer tax in accordance with paragraph 17(4) of schedule 4 to the Finance Act 1975, as amended by section 124 of the Finance Act 1976.

I recognise the importance of the point which the hon. Member is making. I am at present considering this matter in consultation with the expert advisers, the Standing Commission on Museums and Galleries, and the Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts.

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster in which year the practice was commenced of covering by Government indemnities against loss or damage of works of art on loan from national museums and galleries to buildings belonging to the National Trust; and what has been the total sum paid since that year in satisfaction of claims thus arising.

Except for one case this year on which no claim has arisen, it has not been the Government's practice to indemnify national museums and galleries in respect of loans to buildings belonging to the National Trust. However, the National Heritage Bill now before the House makes provision for such indemnities.

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster whether, pursuant to his written answer to the hon. Member for Warley, East, Official Report, 2 November, column 674, formal allocation procedures having now been completed, he will make a further statement on the matter.

Yes. On 13 November my right. hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland announced the allocation of the Fisher Papers to Churchill College, Cambridge.