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Schedule 1

Volume 977: debated on Wednesday 30 January 1980

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The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Leader of the House of Commons
(Mr. Norman St. John-Stevas)

I beg to move amendment No. 42, in page 13, line 15, leave out emoluments and'.

No. 43, in page 13, line 17, at end insert—

'(3) Emoluments paid to the Chairman and to the other Trustees shall not be less than £5,000 and £1,000 per annum respectively'.

No. 44, in page 13, line 17, at end insert—

'(3) Emoluments for trustees shall be not less than £2,000 p.a. per trustee'.

The Government move the amendment because we feel that it involves an important issue of principle. That is why the matter was taken to a Division when it was pressed in Committee. We have done our best to accommodate ourselves to the wishes of hon. Members, but this issue involves potential public expenditure. We have considered the matter and we take the view that there should not be the possibility of payment being made to the trustees.

No post of chairman or trustee of a national museum or art gallery receives remuneration. Nor do the members of the reviewing committee on the export of works of art or the Standing Commission on Museums and Galleries receive remuneration. These are all positions that involve great sacrifice of time and leisure and require dedicated and continual work. I take this opportunity to express my appreciation to the members of these and other bodies who work so selflessly for the safeguarding of our heritage.

It is true that the chairman of the Historic Buildings Council, the chairman of the Ancient Monuments Board and the trustees of the British Library receive remuneration, but these are people who work closely with the Government in posts which have a strong Executive element.

I was not a member of the Standing Committee, but I have followed closely the debates that took place in Committee. Comparisons were made with bodies such as the Horserace Betting Levy Board. The trustees of the proposed fund will have a different function and the analogy is unsound. The trustees will be acting much more in the capacity of providers of assistance to those who will be taking initiatives in seeking to acquire property of heritage quality.

:The right hon. Gentleman is right to say that an analogy was made with the chairman of Horserace Betting Levy Board. Of course, we cannot go into the financial circumstances of the chairman. It would be impertinent to do so. However, Sir Stanley Raymond could not have taken his post unless he had been paid. Are we saying that the chairman of the trustees, ipso facto, is to be a rich man of means of his own? If so, I do not think that that is satisfactory.

:I have been bombarded with suggestions for the post of chairman and with applications to be the chairman. They seem to cover all social classes and all income groups. There seems to be no practical issue at stake. It is partly a matter of supply and demand. I can assure the hon. Gentleman that the supply is becoming embarrassing.

The supply may be embarrassing, but what happens if the best candidate out of such a rich supply is someone who cannot afford to take up the post because he has no private means? The right hon. Gentleman is implying that we shall not necessarily be able to choose the most suitable candidate because the means of the candidate will have to be taken into account.

The hon. Gentleman is assuming that it is to be a full-time job. I do not wish to enter into the details of the applicants and candidates. Some of them have private means. The vast majority are in employment of various sorts. The authority, the prestige and the status of the trustees will be diminished in the eyes of people in the arts, rather than enhanced, if they can receive remuneration. This point has been made to me quite independently by a number of people, and I have reached the same conclusion.

Apart from that point of principle, there are two important practical considerations. The first I made in answer to the interjection by the hon. Member for West Lothian (Mr. Dalyell). There is no shortage of able candidates volunteering to serve as trustees, and they come from a wide range of backgrounds.

7.30 pm

I am sure that the hon. Member for West Lothian is genuinely concerned about this matter, but not only will it not be a full-time occupation—we would expect people to pursue their normal avocation—but we shall be able to give a loss of earnings allowance, which can be an allowance of considerable importance. But I do not believe that an honorarium—which in the nature of things would have to be a very modest one of up to about £1,000 a year—will make available a vast and otherwise untapped field of potential trustees.

Secondly, £15,000 for 10 trustees and a chairman—that would be the absolute minimum—would not be that small a bite out of this fund. It would not be right to pay trustees at the expense of the heritage. It would be unpopular and a considerable source of criticism. Therefore, I have to advise the House that it is the Government's considered view that if this amendment is not made and the words are allowed to stand—I hope that it will not be so—the Government will rely on the fact that the power not to pay the trustees is permissive. I must make that quite clear. That is the Government's position.

The Committee discussed whether the Government should have the power to pay trustees, even if they did not want to do so at present. But it is not good law to bestow on the Government a power that they do not intend to exercise, and it is slightly deceptive to accept a power which, in the opinion of the Government, should not be exercised. If this amendment is not made, it will be necessary to consider adding a provision adding the trustees to the House of Commons Disqualification Act, at least in so far as they receive emoluments; otherwise, we should restrict the field rather than extend it.

I sympathtise with the motives that lie behind the desire of those who want the amendment proposed in Committee to stand. But at a time when the Government are reviewing the whole of public expenditure and are dedicated to good national housekeeping and economies it would be singularly inappropriate, having made available a considerable sum of money for the fund, to set up what would inevitably be denounced as a new paid quango.

Those arguments outweigh the undoubted weight of the arguments which I know are supported by my hon. Friend the Member for Staffordshire, South-West (Mr. Cormack) and Opposition Members. But we would prejudice the good reception and success of this venture by persisting with these proposals. I hope that the amendment will be acceptable to the House.

I appreciate the chivalrous gesture of the hon. Member for Warley, East (Mr. Faulds). It was an amendment headed by my name that was passed with support from both sides of the Committee.

It gives me no pleasure to be in disagreement with my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, to whom I pay tribute for all that he has done to enable us to have the Bill. It is a small matter on which we are falling out. Before my right hon. Friend entered the Chamber, we all congratulated my hon. Friend the Member for Dumfries (Mr. Munro) not only on being such a willing and helpful leader in Committee but on coming back on Report with a number of amendments that meet most of the points that we made.

As I said, it gives my absolutely no pleasure to disagree with my right hon. Friend, but I do. After all, this is only an enabling measure. There is no need for the Government to implement it. Had my right hon. Friend come to the Dispatch Box and said "Yes, we accept this but we cannot see our way at the moment to paying trustees", I should have accepted that as a matter of judgment. The Committee accepted that by making the power enabling and not obliging the Government to pay.

I must cross swords with my right hon. Friend on a number of matters. Many pieces of legislation are enabling and they are no less valuable because of that. There are a number of enabling measures dealing with preservation and the heritage. For instance, there are the powers that local councils have to make grants to historic buildings within their areas. They are not obliged to do so, but the power is there. It was on that sort of lines that we thought when we advanced this amendment.

My right hon. Friend mentioned the chairman of the Historic Buildings Council, and I want to concentrate on that. All along—all hon. Members know that made this point clearly in Committee—I have not been concerned about payment to trustees as such, but many people involved with the heritage believe that in the initial years the chairmanship of this fund will be an onerous responsibility and amount to almost a full-time job.

I raised that point for the first time on Second Reading. I had a great deal of support from all quarters of the heritage lobby—if I may call it that. Many of those who supported me were far from poverty-stricken, but they agreed that it was wrong to restrict appointments of this nature to the rich or the elderly.

If the fund is to be properly managed and play the significant part which we all believe it will play, being chairman will he no sinecure. Indeed, the analogy of the chairman of the Historic Buildings Council is a good one. If it is right to pay the chairman of that council, surely it is right to have at least the opportunity to pay the chairman of the National Heritage Memorial trustees.

This is a very modest proposal. My right hon. Friend has done much to meet us on other points, and I had hoped that he would concede this one. If he does not—I respect his opinion and I know that he will respect mine—I cannot do other than vote in the same way as I did in Committee. I shall seek to vote down the amendment because that is what I believe would be the wish of many who are interested in our heritage. I return to the point that I made earlier. We are seeking only to enable the Government to do this.

I have one final point to make. This is a subject on which we have operated across party lines, to the benefit of everyone. I do not want anyone to be excluded as a potential candidate because of his or her lack of financial means. I want the field to be open.

That is why I moved the amendment in the first place, and it was in that spirit that I referred to the matter during Second Reading. It is with those views still firmly in mind that I shall go into the Lobby tonight if I am obliged to do so.

First, I should like to pay tribute to the part that has been played by the hon. Member for Staffordshire, South-West (Mr. Cormack). I shall certainly not make party capital out of this issue. On the other hand, it is necessary to refer to what has actually happened, because I believe that the Leader of the House let the cat out of the bag.

The key word is "quangos". It is quite clear from what was said that the blessed Margaret in Downing Street—concerned with steel, employment legislation and heaven knows what else—has told the Leader of the House "With regard to this Heritage Bill, let there be no quangos whatever else you do." I always know when I have struck oil, because the Leader of the House gives a watery grin that we know so well. Likewise, a laugh from the Minister of State, Treasury reveals that one has told the truth.

Let us start from the basis that this is a prime ministerial dictum, even though the right hon. Lady knows very little about the details of the issue, and I do not blame her for that. We should point out why the Prime Minister—for it is she who has done this thing—is wrong in this instance.

First, she is wrong for the reasons advanced by the hon. Member for Staffordshire, South-West. In the same breath, I should like to ask the Government how much time they think that the chairman of the trustees can devote to this task. The fact is that, if he or she is to be at all effective, the person will have to devote a lot of time, which excludes a large number of suitable candidates. Incidentally, I agree with the hon. Member for Staffordshire, South- West in that the main issue relates to the chairman and that the other trustees are a relatively lesser issue.

Secondly, the Leader of the House said that trustees would be diminished in the eyes of the arts world if they were paid. Does he deny that that is what he said? No, he does not. Therefore, I reported accurately what he said. I should like to know what evidence there is for that statement. Who are all the people in thearts world who have said "Trustees must not be paid, otherwise they will be diminished in our eyes"? Frankly, I doubt whether there is any evidence for such a statement. As is known by every hon. Member who served on the Committee, some of us have had close relations with various people in the arts world, otherwise we would not have been able to make the contribution that we did. I have met no group or individual in the arts world who has said that the status of trustees would be diminished if they were given some remuneration. Therefore, what the Leader of the House said was a terminological inexactitude. I defy him to produce the evidence for the remark that he made.

I wish that the hon. Members for Eastleigh (Mr. Price) and for Kidderminster (Mr. Bulmer),who both spoke so eloquently on this subject in Committee, were present. I can only suspect that they have been exiled to the Conservative equivalent of Siberia, but I am willing to be told that I am wrong.

Neither of my hon. Friends expected this matter to be debated. In fact, they are both paired. I hope that the hon. Gentleman will accept that explanation.

I am aghast at that, because I have known the hon. Member for Eastleigh for nearly 20 years and I would not say that he wasnaive. It really stretches the imagination to believe that he did not think that this matter would be voted on.

:I am sorry that my hon. Friend is not here to participate, but none of us knew about the Government amendment until yesterday. In fact, my hon. Friend the Member for Eastleigh is doing something extremely important.

7.45 pm

The hon. Member for Eastleigh is an honourable man and it is not like him to shirk his responsibilities. I must say that he and I are united with regard to the Government amendment. Like him, I did not anticipate it because I thought that the Government would submit to the discussion that occurred in Committee.

As my hon. Friend has rightly said, that makes it a great deal worse. If the Government intended to do this, they might: at least have had the courtesy to warn their hon. Friends. I shall not lecture Front Bench spokesmen on courtesy, but they might have told the two hon. Members concerned about what they were up to.

Thirdly, the Leader of the House told us that no such post receives remuneration, although he accepted that the chairmanship of the HBC did. The review body on the export of works of art is a very different institution. It is nothing like full-time. I happen to know something about this because I have recently asked the Attorney-General about it in another context. The review body is totally different—at least, I think that it is. The fact is that we spent a lot of time in Committee discussing the trustees, yet even now we are far from clear about what their job specification is. The Minister was honourably open in saying that that would evolve. However, the job of chairman is likely to be one approaching a full-time job.

Fourthly, it is all very well to use the analogy of the review body on the export of works of art, but I and a number of other hon. Members represent new towns, and we all know that the chairmanship of a new town development corporationis a paid post. It does not behove the Leader of the House to make such an egregious speech without recognising that there are many other bodies of which the chairman is automatically paid a reasonable sum. If he were not paid such a sum, many candidates would be excluded.

I did not care for the right hon. Gentleman's remark that it is not right to pay trustees at the expense of the heritage. Will his next argument be that it is not right for the chairman of a new town development corporation to be paid at the expense of the ratepayers, owner-occupiers and tenants of new town houses? If it is, it is trawling the bottom of the ocean.

There was also the argument about posts with a strong executive element, which the Leader of the House believed should be treated somewhat differently. I may be wrong, but as I understand it there is a large executive element in relation to the trustees. Certainly, it appears from the literature on this subject that the trustees are to have a good deal of executive power—at least, in the mind of the Under-Secretary they are to have a good deal of executive power.

We then told the Leader of the House "If you do this, you will then raise complications with regard to the House of Commons Disqualification Act." Does that mean that two or more of the trustees are to be Members of the House of Commons? I am not happy about that, and I pray in aid my distinguished ex-colleague, Mr. George Strauss, who for many years was a trustee of the British Museum. In no way do I want to quote him out of context, but he used to say that there were certain problems about Members of the House of Commons being trustees. In regard to this body, I would have thought that it was positively undesirable for Members of the House of Commons to be among the trustees. If there is an argument against, it would be germane and relevant if we were told.

The question of inserting a power to pay the trustees was raised in Committee. It was not pressed to a Division, but at any rate the power is still in the Bill. Amendment No. 43 goes further and actually requires that the trustees are paid. A pay structure is suggested by the figures £5,000 and £1,000 per annum, thus reflecting the degree of responsibility and likely time involvement of the chairman and trustees respectively.

There are strong feelings—they were expressed in Committee—that not only must there be a power to pay trustees—and the Bill has progressed that far already—but that the trustees should actually be paid. Without such a requirement, we may yet find Ministers jibbing at paying emoluments, thinking that they can still find people of adequate capacity to serve and not appointing those who should have the job, in order to save trifling sums of money, in the context of the fund, let alone of national expenditure. It is the best people that are needed here. Financial consideration must not enter into the matter. The trustees should be paid.

That said, it should be emphasised that this debate, rather like the long debate on not reimbursing the commissioners of the Inland Revenue with real money but rather doing it painlessly with paper "units of account"—indeed, the whole question of payment for the trustees—is not an argument about heritage. It is about good management, sensible staffing and fair treatment. Let us be celar that there is no discord between us on heritage as such. It is an argument about the good management of a public body.

While management and staffing are under discussion, what about the duties of the trustees? What progress have Ministers made on the delicate subject of the appointment of the chairman and other trustees? It gives me no pleasure to be cantankerous on the subject. Indeed, this is the first sign of cantankerous behaviour on the Bill—certainly from myself and those who have taken part in the debate. However, we feel strongly about the matter. We feel that it is an issue of principle and that the good management and success of the heritage trustees—heaven knows, we want them to succeed in their important task—are at stake. In that spirit, I beg the Leader of the House, with his power as a senior member of the Government, to say that he has changed his mind after all. There is nothing disgraceful about changing one's mind.

I rise to my feet in support of a good argument, but I look around to find that there are fewer than 20 hon. Members in the Chamber. The argument has been well rehearsed in Committee, but I believe that a new element in the debate has been introduced by the Government's new amendment.

I should like to quote from the remarks of the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. He said that no similar appointees receive remuneration. That is a rotten argument. The fact that something has happened of which we disapprove is no reason why it should go on happening. He also said that the authority status and prestige of those who are not paid will be enhanced. On that point I argue most of all with the right hon. Gentleman.

I have obtained from the Library a volume which I would not recommend to anybody for light reading. It is called "A Directory of Paid Public Appointments made by Ministers, 1978."If we are to take the words of the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster seriously, it would seem that all the persons in that volume have diminished authority, status and prestige by virtue of the fact that they are paid. Not even the Minister would agree that that is fair comment.

The Minister said that it would be wrong to compare the Gaming Board with the National Heritage Memorial Fund. Of course, he is right. It is always wrong to compare anyone with anything. However, it is fair to look at the sort of quangos or paid public appointments that are made by Ministers working inunison one with another, in order to see in how many of those the members are paid. In the British Film Fund there are two paid members. The British Library Fund has eight paid members. There are paid members in the British Tourist Authority and the British Waterways Board. The Countryside Commission does not have paid members, but it has a paid deputy-chairman and a paid vice-chairman. Of course, all the bodies have well-or reasonably well-paid chairmen. I come to the Cumbernauld development corporation. I am going through the list in alphabetical order and the House will be relieved to hear that I stop at the letter 'g'.

There are 12 paid members on the Development Board for Rural Wales. There are paid members on the English Tourist Board and the Forestry Commission. Indeed, the Forestry Commission is a body that is not a million miles removed from the Heritage Fund. The part-time chairman and the five part-time members are paid four-figure sums. I end on the Gaming Board of Great Britain—I will not go on. It seems to me that the Government are wrong to adduce the argument that to be paid diminishes the standing of the people. The hon. Member for West Lothian (Mr. Dalyell) has proved that it is wrong to say that the arts world deplores or feels worried about payment and any connection with it.

Does the hon Gentleman agree that senior Cabinet Ministers who make statements about the alleged opinions of other people—be they in the art world or any other world—should be able to produce the evidence for those statements? Frankly, some of us do not believe that those statements were ever made.

Yes; it would be hard not to agree with that sort of statement.

I shall be brief because I see the Whips racing around the Chamber trying to persuade hon. Members to end the debate. [Interruption.] Well, I saw them a moment ago.

I should like to raise one further point. The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster said that it would not look right in the economic climate that we are currently enjoying—or perhaps failing to enjoy on this side of the House—to set up a new quango with new paid appointments. I remind the Chancellor and the Minister of State of their own self-financing policies. By paying a modest but realistic sum both to the trustees and to the chairman, there is every chance of achieving the self-financing upon which the Government are so keen. I believe that the right people will be able to get the right items for the National Heritage Fund at the right price. I believe that to be the policy of the Government, and I totally agree with that policy.

If you call my amendment, Mr. Deputy Speaker, I shall press it. However, I shall certainly vote against the Government if they persist in not accepting the opinion of the majority of the Committee and, I believe, the majority in the country.

What seems like a long time ago now, I gave way with a chivalrous gesture to the hon. Member for Staffordshire, South-West (Mr. Cormack). He should have known me better. It was not a chivalrous gesture but a calculated kindness. I wanted him to go on record as opposing his right hon. Friend's intention of downing the will of the Committee. I am sorry if hon. Members are upsetting the Whips by delaying the House on this matter.

I shall continue at some length. It is an important matter, and we should get it on record that there is general disagreement within the Chamber—certainly there was in Committee—with the Government's intention not to listen to the opinions of the Committee. There are enough hon. Members present in the Chamber to express the will of those on the Committee and those who are concerned about these matters. Nevertheless, we shall see how many hon. Members the right hon. Gentleman manages to muster from the musty corners of the House when it comes to the vote.

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If no emoluments are available either to the chairman or to the trustees, there is a danger that there will be the usual establishment assortment on the board of trustees. I am not making a generalised attack—it is a risk that I often run, and I sometimes succumb to it—on the boards and trustees who run aspects of our heritage. Most of them do a very good job. However, it is well known that there are a large number of people on those boards whose names simply decorate them. They do not take an active part in the proceedings of the trust. They are there because they are well-to-do, they have the time, and their titles look good on the headings of the notepaper. That is the danger that the right hon. Gentleman runs if he insists on downing the will of the Committee.

I can only quote at the right hon. Gentleman—I regret that the hon. Gentleman is not here to speak for himself—the words of the hon. Member for Eastleigh (Mr. Price), his colleague, who said in Committee:

"It is essential, if we are to make a success of this, that the base be as broad as possible."

He was talking about the trustees. He continued:

"We do not want the heritage to be thought to be a matter for a limited number of people. It is everybody's heritage. That cannot be put too strongly."

I am sorry that the hon. Gentleman is not present tonight. That morning in Committee was most impressive. It was not just we terrible Socialists who said that people should be paid for their public duties. Conservative Members who are not normally thought of as being on the Left wing of the party were most reactionary. They supported our arguments. It is unacceptable to hon. Members who served on that Committee and discussed the matter at great length that our will should be disregarded.

It is important to remember that for the chairman, and probably the trustees—the chairman may have so much to deal with that he delegates some matters to the trustees—this will be a more or less full-time job. We are living in a period of economic stress. We shall find increasingly in the next few years that people are forced to sell properties, objects d'art and paintings, and that more and more such works of art will appear on the market, works of art which we want to keep in Britain as part of our national heritage. There will be a flood of problems to consider.

Again I quote from the Committee proceedings, because the right hon. Gentleman was not present. I said that

"in the economic circumstances of our time, there is likely to be an increasing number of cases in which properties, land and objects will come up for consideration…It is more than likely that this will be a time-consuming job. There will be crisis after crisis. The job will not be a sinecure. It will need a great deal of time and frequent meetings."—[Official Report, Standing Committee F, 22 January 1980; c. 270–75.]

If the Government expect the board of trustees to do the job properly—it will be a full-time job—they must reconsider the sort of people whom they will appoint. It will be very disturbing if suitable candidates for the board of trustees—I hope that we shall all play a part in putting up names—are prevented from taking on a job of this nature simply because they cannot afford to do so. That argument cannot be repeated enough to get it into the right hon. Gentleman's noddle that we must have a suitable selection of representative people on the board of trustees, not the decorative establishment figures that I am beginning to think the right hon. Gentleman may have in mind.

It would be interesting to know who the Minister has in mind. I wish we knew, particularly about the chairman. Some hon. Members made representations earlier about the unacceptability of one or two names that were running around in his head. We hope that he has excised them for good.

Well, if they are in that sort of spirit, perhaps it is better to exorcise rather than excise them. I cannot judge the right hon. Gentleman's hon. Friends better than he can.

The members of the Committee considered the matter at great length, and in their wisdom they defeated the Government. It was a very happy occasion. The Government should have the grace to accept that decision. I urge all hon. Members to have the guts, when the matter comes to a Division, to move into the Opposition Lobby and defeat the Government on this important aspect.

It is sad that the Leader of the House has introduced a discordant note at this late stage, having kept at a happy distance from the working of the Committee. He has struck across the strong feeling of the Committee on the matter of payment of the trustees. He said that this involves an important question of principle. For him, the principle was a possibility of public expenditure. That in itself is an important question of principle. He is afraid of the implications and potential of public expenditure, but he is more than happy to accept potential public service and for that service to be unpaid.

It has already been argued that it is inadequate to list the museums and galleries and to say that no payment should be taken by their trustees and to pretend that that is the ideal system. I think it is sad that many trustees are not paid, and that is such a valuable use of precedent in this connection. The right hon. Gentleman referred to the fact that the analogies which were drawn in Committee were to bodies with a strong executive element. We have heard the hon. Member for the Isle of Ely (Mr. Freud) review various bodies which, although they do ber for Isle of Ely (Mr. Freud) review payment.

I speak from experience. I was the chairman of the Wales Tourist Board. A good deal of the work involved was non-executive. It involved exercising discretion over grants and loans, precisely an aspect of the activity which the trustees would exercise in this connection. Board members and the chairman received a modest payment, and it is proper that in this case the trustees should receive payment.

The Leader of the House referred to the fact that there would be provision for allowances as compensation for loss of earnings. That is not a good way of showing recognition for services. The compensation received within any group of people will be different, according to the different earnings capacity of their earning commitment. It is improper that their role as trustees should be reflected in that way.

It was argued that there was no shorttage of candidates. That is no justification. Is the right hon. Gentleman suggesting that if there were a shortage of candidates he would be prepared to buy them? I do not see that the availability of candidates is relevant to the argument of principle whether payment should be made for the job. The right hon. Gentleman came to the conclusion that it would be wrong to bestow a power, as appears in the clause as amended in Committee, which the Government do not intend to exercise. Surely that is done frequently. That might happen under clause 14 of the Bill. Do not the provisions of that clause bestow a power—transferring some functions—which the Government do not propose to exercise, or is the right hon. Gentleman telling us that on the basis of that argument he does not approve of exercising bestowing powers? Is he telling us, in a devious way, that he intends to implement clause 14? If he is not saying that, I do not see the force of his argument.

The Government, in their economic and taxation policy, have constantly used the argument of a causal link between effort and reward. The effort should be to reward, and reward should breed effort. We are talking of a group of trustees whom we expect to show effort and dedication. Why does the principle, so widely deployed by the Government, of properly recognising effort not apply here?

It is a disappointing amendment. I implore the Chancellor at this late stage to review the position and take cognisance of the fact that the Committee looked carefully into the question and was strongly of the view that there should be a measure of payment to the trustees. I ask him to withdraw his amendment.

:I congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Staffordshire, South-West (Mr. Cormack) on his—

No. I am not a Whip or a slave-driver. My hon. Friend must make up his own mind. When I was interrupted, I was about to congratulate my hon. Friend on his moderate approach to the problem and the persuasive way in which he put his argument.

The hon. Member for Caerphilly (Mr. Hudson Davies) was less than just to me in his reflections on my appearance to move the amendment. I did so because I realised that the amendment would be unpopular with some hon. Members. I therefore thought it right that I should come to move it myself. That was my motivation. Otherwise, I could have hovered without until Third Reading.

I must make it clear that this is a Government decision made right at the beginning. The new element is not the amendment. The new element of payment came in in Committee. That was when it was first proposed. It was never envisaged by the Government when the Bill was brought before the House that these trustees would be paid.

The hon. Member for West Lothian (Mr. Dalyell) alleges that he always knows what is the truth when he finds me smiling. I say to him, attach no importance to my smiles. It is simply that I find it easier to smile than to scowl. It has no particular significance, except that I am today my normal cheerful self, in spite of my regret that we are having some controversy at this late stage.

The hon. Member for West Lothian said that it was "all the fault of the blessed Margaret in No. 10". I assure him, first, that the title is wrong. On the day that she entered No. 10, she rose from "blessed" to "saint". The Prime Minister, of course, has overall responsibility, but the amendment is not being moved at her particular instigation. It is in accord with the general policy of the Government with regard to the Bill.

In spite of the impressive list of the hon. Member for Isle of Ely (Mr. Freud), which I believe that we have reduced, it is also true that it would be inappropriate to be adding to that list unnecessarily at a time when we are trying to reduce it.

The hon. Member for West Lothian asked me for evidence about the reaction in the arts world. I can only say that there is evidence. No doubt people have reacted in different ways, but the view has been represented to me that it would be a bad thing and prejudice the standing of the trustees, not personally but as trustees, and that is what I am concerned with. I stress that it is intended that if there is any loss of earnings there should be provision made for that to be made up.

8.15 pm

I do not wish to be offensive, but will the right hon. Gentleman name one important segment of the arts world that has put that point of view? The evidence that most of us have is absolutely to the contrary. People in the arts world think that it is extremely important as a matter of principle that trustees should be paid. The image too often associated with the very well-heeled is not desirable for our heritage, which belongs to everyone.

Where has all the evidence come from? I am not asking for a whole list of names, only one or two.

:Journalists do not reveal their sources, and it would be quite improper for me to reveal confidential expressions of opinion passed to me as Minister. Of course, the hon. Gentleman's experience is different from mine. If he can find any opinion that is shared universally throughout the arts world, I should be grateful to be made aware of it. It is a world in which there is a wide variety of individuals and, therefore, a wide variety of opinions.

On two occasions, in October and December, the National Trust in Scotland convened widespread conferences, casting the net over all the heritage bodies in Scotland. On a number of issues there were differences of opinion, but it is my recollection that on this issue every one of the bodies centred on Edinburgh, which is a microcosm of Britain, agreed that it was important, as a matter of principle, that there should be payment for the chairman and the other trustees. Opinion was not necessarily unanimous on other topics, but it was unanimous on this point.

I accept the hon. Gentleman's evidence. I can only tell him that that is not the unanimous view of the arts world.

A thought came into my mind when I was listening to the interesting contribution of the hon. Member for Isle of Ely. I believe that it is important to preserve the voluntary principle as far as possible. It is an important part of our national life. One sees it operating in all sorts of spheres, and particularly where spiritual values are involved—in nursing, medicine, religion and the arts. There is some value in preserving it where we can.

Does the right hon. Gentleman accept that the voluntary principle could be preserved if people were able to give the money back? We are simply arguing for a facility for these people to be paid in order not to exclude anyone from consideration as a trustee.

That is an interesting suggestion. However, it would cause more complications than it would solve. The hon. Member for Warley, East (Mr. Faulds) was concerned that we might have too many members from the Establishment. Establishment is not a state of income but a state of mind.

:No, it is a state of mind. The hon. Gentleman is an Establishment figure. I think that he would agree with that. He is an Establishment figure on two grounds—vast income from the acting profession and—

Unfortunately, the right hon. Gentleman is quite wrong about my income from my old profession. I devote far too much time to the House rather than to my old profession. That may be regretted by some of my colleagues, and the right hon. Gentleman must not damage me in public by asserting that I am an Establishment figure. If that has happened to me after 13 years in the House, perhaps I should give up.

Rather than face that horrific possibility, I withdraw all imputations that the hon. Member is a member of the Establishment. As I look at him, I do have doubts. Never mind. I accept the hon. Gentleman's assurance.

I am not a member of the Establishment on either ground. I am a free spirit and I range as far as the Chief Whip allows me. [Interruption.] I am very glad to see my right hon. Friend the Patronage Secretary here. He is, after

Division No. 149]


[8.23 pm

Adley, RobertGrist, IanNelson, Anthony
Alexander, RichardGrylls, MichaelNeubert, Michael
Ancram, MichaelGummer, John SelwynNewton, Tony
Aspinwall, JackHamilton, Hon Archie (Eps'm&Ew'll)Onslow, Cranley
Atkins, Robert (Preston North)Hannam, JohnPage, John (Harrow, West)
Berry, Hon AnthonyHaselhurst, AlanPage, Rt Hon Sir R. Graham
Best, KeithHawksley, WarrenPage, Richard (SW Hertfordshire)
Bevan, David GilroyHeddle, JohnParris, Matthew
Biggs-Davison, JohnHenderson, BarryPatten, Christopher (Bath)
Boscawen, Hon RobertHicks, RobertPollock, Alexander
Bowden, AndrewHogg, Hon Douglas (Grantham)Proctor, K. Harvey
Boyson, Dr RhodesHolland, Philip (Carlton)Raison, Timothy
Braine, Sir BernardHooson, TomRees, Peter (Dover and Deal)
Bright, GrahamHowell, Ralph (North Norfolk)Renton, Tim
Brinton, TimHunt, John (Ravensbourne)Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon
Brooke, Hon PeterHurd, Hon DouglasRidley, Hon Nicholas
Brown, Michael (Brigg & Sc'thorpe)Jopling, Rt Hon MichaelRoberts, Wyn (Conway)
Bruce-Gardyne, JohnKnox, DavidRossi, Hugh
Buchanan-Smith, Hon AlickLang, IanRost, Peter
Burden, F. A.Langford-Holt, Sir JohnSainsbury, Hon Timothy
Cadbury, JocelynLatham, MichaelSt. John-Stevas, Rt Hon Norman
Carlisle, John (Luton West)Lawrence, IvanShepherd, Colin (Hereford)
Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln)Le Merchant, SpencerShepherd, Richard(Aldridge-Br'hills)
Carlisle, Rt Hon Mark (Runcorn)Lennox-Soyd, Hon MarkSims, Roger
Chalker, Mrs. LyndaLester, Jim (Beston)Skeet, T. H. H.
Chapman, SydneyLloyd, Ian (Havant & Waterloo)Speed, Keith
Churchill, W. S.Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)Speller, Tony
Clark, Hon Alan (Plymouth. Sutton)Loveridge, JohnSpicer, Michael (S Worcestershire)
Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe)Luce, RichardSproat, Iain
Cockeram, EricLyell, NicholasStanbrook, Ivor
Colvin, MichaelMacfarlane, NeilStanley, John
Cope, JohnMacKay, John (Argyll)Stevens, Martin
Cranborne, ViscountMcNair-Wilson, Michael (Newbury)Stewart, John (East Renfrewshire)
Critchley, JulianMcQuarrie, AlbertStradling Thomas, J.
Crouch, DavidMadel, DavidTebbit, Norman
Dean, Paul (North Somerset)Major, JohnThatcher, Rt Hon Mrs Margaret
Dorrell, StephenMarland, PaulThompson, Donald
Dover, DenshoreMarten, Neil (Banbury)Thorne, Neil (Ilford South)
Dykes, HughMather, CarolThornton, Malcolm
Eggar, TimothyMawby, RayTownsend, Cyril D. (Bexleyheath)
Eyre, ReginaldMawhinney, Dr BrianWaddington, David
Fairbairn, NicholasMaxwell-Hyslop, RobinWaldegrave, Hon William
Fairgrieve, RussellMellor, DavidWalker-Smith, Rt Hon Sir Derek
Faith, Mrs SheilaMiller, Hal (Bromsgrove & Redditch)Waller, Gary
Fenner, Mrs PeggyMills, Iain (Meriden)Ward, John
Fisher, Sir NigelMills, Peter (West Devon)Watson, John
Fletcher. Alexander (Edinburgh N)Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)Wells, Bowen (Hert'rd & Stev'nage)
Fletcher-Cooke, CharlesMoate, RogerWheeler, John
Fookes, Miss JanetMolyneaux, JamesWickenden, Keith
Fry, PeterMonro, HectorWilliams, Delwyn (Montgomery)
Gardiner, George (Reigate)Morrison, Hon Charles (Devizes)Young, Sir George (Acton)
Garel-Jones, TristanMorrison, Hon Peter (City of Chester)Younger, Rt Hon George
Gorst, JohnMurphy, Christopher
Gower, Sir RaymondNeale, GerrardLord James Douglas-Hamilton and
Greenway, HarryNeedham, RichardMr. John MacGregor.
Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth N)

all, the Patronage Secretary—another of his titles—and is a well-known patron of the arts. That is an unsolicited tribute.

I am sorry that I have not been able to accede to the wishes of those who are here. If I could, I would. The balance of the argument—it is not a clear-cut issue—is against them. I admit the perfect right of any hon. Member to divide the House, but I hope that we can avoid that. If not, we must vote according to our conscientious convictions.

Question put, That the amendment be made:—

The House divided: Ayes 165, Noes 134.


Abse, LeoFoulkes, GeorgeMorris, Rt Hon Alfred (Wythenshawe)
Adams, AllenFreud, ClementMorris, Rt Hon Charles (Openshaw)
Alton, DavidGarrett, W. E. (Wallsend)O'Neill, Martin
Ashton, JoeGeorge, BrucePalmer, Arthur
Atkinson, Norman (H'gey, Tott'ham)Gilbert, Rt Hon Dr JohnParker, John
Beith, A. J.Golding, JohnParry, Robert
Bennett, Andrew (Stockport N)Gourlay, HarryPavitt, Laurie
Bidwell, SydneyGraham, TedPenhaligon, David
Booth, Rt Hon AlbertGrant, George (Morpeth)Powell, Raymond (Ogmore)
Bray, Dr JeremyHamilton, W. W. (Central Fife)Prescott, John
Brown, Hugh D. (Provan)Harrison, Rt Hon WalterRace, Reg
Brown, Ronald W. (Hackney S)Haynes, FrankRoberts, Ernest (Hackney North)
Buchan, NormanHogg, Norman (E Dunbartonshire)Ross, Stephen (Isle of Wight)
Campbell, IanHome Robertson, JohnRowlands, Ted
Campbell-Savours, DaleHomewood, WilliamSandelson, Neville
Canavan, DennisHooley, FrankSheerman, Barry
Carmichael, NeilHowells, GeraintSilkin, Rt Hon S. C. (Dulwich)
Cartwright, JohnHuckfield, LesSilverman, Julius
Clark, Dr David (South Shields)Hudson Davies, Gwilym EdnyfedSmith, Cyril (Rochdale)
Cocks, Rt Hon Michael (Bristol S)Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen North)Spearing, Nigel
Coleman, DonaldHughes, Roy (Newport)Spriggs, Leslie
Conlan, BernardJones, Rt Hon Alec(Rhondda)Steel, Rt Hon David
Cormack, PatrickJones, Barry (East Flint)Stewart, Rt Hon Donald (W Isles)
Cryer, BobJones, Dan (Burnley)Stott, Roger
Cunliffe, LawrenceKilfedder, James A.Summerskill, Hon Dr Shirley
Dalyell, TamKinnock, NeilTaylor, Mrs Ann (Bolton West)
Davis, Terry (B'rm'ham, Stechford)Lambie, DavidThomas, Dafydd (Merioneth)
Dean, Joseph (Leeds West)Leadbitter, TedThomas, Dr Roger (Carmarthen)
Dempsey, JamesLeighton, RonaldTinn, James
Dixon, DonaldLewis, Ron (Carlisle)Walker, Rt Hon Harold (Doncaster)
Dormand, JackLitherland, RobertWeetch, Ken
Douglas, DickLofthouse, GeoffreyWelsh, Michael
Dunnett, JackLyons, Edward (Bradford West)White, Frank R. (Bury & Radcliffe)
Eadle, AlexMcCartney, HughWhite, James (Glasgow, Pollok)
Eastham, KenMcDonald, Dr OonaghWhitlock, William
Edwards, Robert (Wolv SE)McKay, Allan (Penistone)Wigley, Dafydd
Ellis, Raymond (NE Derbyshire)Marks, KennethWilson, Gordon (Dundee East)
Ellis, Tom (Wrexham)Marshall, David (Gl'sgow, Shettles'n)Winnick, David
Evans, John (Newton)Marshall, Dr Edmund Goole)Woodall, Alec
Ewing, HarryMarshall, Jim (Leicester South)Wrigglesworth, Ian
Faulds, AndrewMartin, Michael (Gl'gow, Springb'rn)Wright, Sheila
Field, FrankMason, Rt Hon RoyYoung, David (Bolton East)
Fitch, AlanMaxton, John
Flannery, MartinMaynard, Miss JoanTELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Ford, BenMillan, Rt Hon BruceMr. James Hamilton and
Foster, DerekMitchell, R. C. (Soton, Itchen)Mr. George Morton.

Question accordingly agreed to.

8.32 pm

I beg to move, That the Bill be now read the Third time.

I am delighted that we have come to the Third Reading of the Bill with only the most minor disagreements.

My first task must be to pay a heartfelt tribute to my hon. Friend the Under Secretary of State for the Environment for his devotion, enthusiasm, ability and dedication to the Bill. I have, of course, been in the closest touch with him during the Committee stage proceedings. However, I do not want to give the impression that his was not a fully independent and creative role. We all owe him a debt of gratitude for the progress made in Committee and the good spirits that prevailed.

I also thank the hon. Member for Warley, East (Mr. Faulds) for all the

effort he has put into the Bill. I thank him particularly for being here today. I know that he is here at great personal inconvenience, as he cancelled an important late-night engagement in Paris. We all appreciate the sacrifice that he has made.

It would be a tragedy if heritage matters became an issue of party political dispute. In the nature of things there must at some time, I imagine, be a change of Government. This Government cannot be in power all the time, though they are doing very well at the moment and it looks as though we will be here until the end of the century.

I will settle for the present century at this moment.

It would be disastrous for the heritage if there were not the widest possible measure of bipartisanship, and I am extremely grateful to the hon. Member for Warley, East for having made such a notable contribution in this sphere. It is rare for an individual to make a great difference. His accession to the position of spokesman for the Opposition has made a major difference to our arts policy, and I pay tribute to him, as I pay tribute to the hon. Member for West Lothian (Mr. Dalyell) for his contribution to the debate. I also thank my hon. Friend the Member for Staffordshire, South-West (Mr. Cormack) for his continuing contribution to the arts in the House and outside it which is followed by all those interested in the heritage.

After the detailed consideration the Bill has received in Committee and on Report, I think it would be useful to stand back for a few minutes and set the proposal that it contains in the context of our other policies for the heritage and the arts. The Bill sets up a new fund to be run by independent trustees providing assistance to bodies and institutions that wish to acquire, preserve or maintain outstanding land, buildings and objects of national heritage quality. I have given no sustained consideration to who should be appointed, save in the most general terms, because it would be quite wrong, until I was assured of the approval of the Bill by Parliament, to begin that consideration. When, as I hope, the Bill receives its Third Reading, I shall devote my mind to this matter in conjunction with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment.

I can make a few general remarks about the sort of people we shall be looking for. We do not want crabbed specialists. We do not want astronomers who have never seen the stars. We do not want bankers who have never seen the world save by looking out of a bank window. We want people of wide experience and cultural perceptiveness and an interest in the whole question of the heritage and the arts. We want people who will be able to assess and take expert advice but who are not necessarily experts.

The right hon. Gentleman said he would consult the Secretary of State for the Environment. Will he also confer with the Secretaries of State for Scotland and Wales?

Yes, when that is appropriate. I am very glad to have them added to the rota.

Second, the Bill transfers ministerial responsibility for acceptance of property in lieu of capital transfer tax from the Treasury to the Secretary of State for the Environment and myself in my capacity as Minister for the arts. I do not think that any one alteration in policy has done more than that to ensure this measure a favourable reception in the arts world. There was widespread dismay at the prospect of the in-lieu proceedings being abandoned. They have been and will be preserved in principle for the foreseeable future. How the actual administration will be carried out will be a matter for review after experience, however.

The Bill now contains a major new concession, introduced at Committee stage with my full approval and support, to provide the means for a very wide-ranging scheme under which the Government can undertake to indemnify lenders of works of art and similar objects when they are loaned for display to other persons, bodies or institutions.

I am grateful for that expression of support. I have received expressions of appreciation from a number of people outside the House.

The steps which have been taken in the Bill should be seen in the context of what we are already doing. We already provide the maintenance costs, the capital costs and the purchase grants for the national museums and galleries, and special funds to aid the purchasers in the local museums and galleries. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment provides similar support for a number of historic buildings and ancient monuments, and he, of course, is advised by the historic buildings councils.

I am advised by the Standing Commission on Museums and Galleries. I thank the commission and Sir Arthur Drew for all the help that they have given in the course of the Bill. I especially thank Mr. Michael Levey, the director of the National Gallery, who has taken such a constructive and informed interest in the Bill and in all matters concerning the visual arts.

My right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have similar responsibilities for the arts and the environmental heritage. As has been pointed out by the hon. Member for West Lothian they will be advising and taking decisions where appropriate.

In addition, we control the export of works of art on the advice of the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art. The committee has an extremely difficult task which it does extremely well and conscientiously. It is a tribute to it that no one has even questioned the bona fides of its decisions, however much he may have disagreed with the decision reached. Professor White is doing a wonderful job in that respect.

In round terms, as a proportion of my arts budget, which also covers the Arts Council, the British Library and a number of other bodies concerned with the living arts, expenditure on heritage is over £40 million out of a £140 million budget. Next year, with the addition of the National Heritage Fund and the provision for acceptance in lieu, the proportion will be significantly higher.

That is a firm demonstration of our commitment to the national heritage and is all the more notable when one considers the steps that we are having to take, unfortunately, to retrench public expenditure generally. I know that the Expenditure Committee report, from which the idea of the new fund sprang, recommended that we should add to its endowment the £50 million that it said was taken away in 1957, but it sensibly said:
"as the public expenditure situation permits".
I should be delighted to comply with that recommendation. I am sure that the House will recognise that it is simply not practicable at the present time. I regard it as a major achievement—and I have been supported in this view by the heritage movement—that we have ensured that the total sum standing to the credit of the National Land Fund at the end of this financial year will be handed over to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment and myself, so that we can provide an immediate and reasonable endowment for the new fund and continue the acceptance in lieu system.

I have referred to the heritage movement. It has played a full role in the preparation and the success of the Bill. It has been constructive and helpful from the time when it gave its detailed evidence to the Expenditure Committee until now, and it has collaborated fully with the Government, the Opposition and hon. Members on the Back Benches in ensuring that we have an accurate and comprehensible statute which reflects the wishes of those concerned. The Bill has made swift progress and will need to maintain this to reach the statute book in time for the fund to be set up at the start of the next financial year. I am most anxious to meet that deadline.

I have nothing but praise for the manner in which my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for the Environment handled the debates in Committee. He and the many others who have contributed to the original text and the amendments deserve our congratulations on a great achievement for the national heritage.

Mr. Hugh Leggatt, a great supporter of the arts, said that the Bill constituted the brightest day for the arts and the heritage for more than 30 years.

I wish to thank all those who have contributed.

8.44 pm

This is a happy occasion. We see now the realisation—or near realisation, or imminent realisation—of a much-hoped-for development. Out of Hugh Dalton's original concept of stretches of lovely land being preserved, unspoiled, as a memorial to the war dead of the last great war, there developed the extension of concern to historic houses and, eventually, to paintings and objets ďart.

Sadly, the National Land Fund, the original vehicle, was not properly utilised because of Treasury machinations and, let us be honest, by parliamentary parsimony when funds were diverted, quite improperly, to the Treasury for purposes other than those for which the fund had been established.

Mentmore was a national scandal which had the fortunate result of rousing such fury and concern that the whole subject became a matter of public interest and subsequently a matter of examination by Arthur Jones's Sub-Committee of the Expenditure Committee.

The excellent report that came out of that led to the White Paper of February 1979, produced—and it is advisable that we should remember this—by Lord Donaldson and Lady Birk and strongly backed by the then Prime Minister, my right hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan). I recount the history yet again just to put the record straight and so that the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster should not get all the kudos. The right hon. Gentleman is a great collector of paraphernalia of all sorts, but he is not averse to picking up whatever kudos lies around.

I am not quite such a collector of either kudos or bits and pieces as is the right hon. Gentleman. Incidentally, I have another Gladstone bust for him if he can afford it.

This is becoming most improper. Queen Victoria's bust is not a matter which should be discussed on the Third Reading of the National Heritage Bill, even though it may lie in the right hon. Gentleman's collection.

Let us be fair to the right hon. Gentleman. He deserves some of the kudos. He was generous to me—rightly so—and I must be generous to him. He has played an admirable role in seeing that matters were got right in Committee and in the final form of the Bill. We should put on record that he was the final contributor, with his hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for the Environment, who did so excellently in Committee.

However, it is only fair to add that the right hon. Gentleman took the advice that I gave on Second Reading when I instructed him to apply a touch of his delicate toe to a number of bureaucratic bottoms in Whitehall. The result has been a much improved Bill in which the right hon. Gentleman has handsomely met the main requirements of the heritage and museum worlds.

All along, the right hon. Gentleman has supported the in-lieu provisions, which were regrettably left out of the February White Paper. The right hon. Gentleman and I were at one on that. He has met the in situ suggestions for which the museum world has wished for years and, more admirably—and this is where the toe penetrated the posterior—he has insisted on introducing the indemnity arrangements for which the museum world had also argued for years.

The right hon. Gentleman deserves a good deal of credit, and I should like to put on record again the contribution of the Under-Secretary in Committee. He dealt courteously, good-humouredly and efficiently with a fairly ugly crew.

Of course, I include myself but do not exclude the hon. Member.

Where the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster has not been so good is in failing to resist the Treasury's baleful influence. I had wanted to speak at length on that matter, but I have rehearesd the arguments a number of times in Committee and on Second Reading, and I understand that there are problems about completing the business of the House satisfactorily tonight, so I shall drop, perhaps ill-advisedly, the animadversions on the Treasury.

However, I should like to raise one or two other matters on which the Minister might like to comment. There is common agreement that, in the nature of things, no accurate advance estimates can be made of the sums required to record in the books acceptances in lieu, since too many unpredictable factors are inevitably involved. In view of that, will the right hon. Gentleman take this opportunity to confirm to the House that if the estimates are insufficient in any one year the moneys will not be made up by raiding the annual grant of income to the National Heritage Memorial Fund? That matter was touched on earlier, but I should like confirmation when the right hon. Gentleman replies to the debate. Conversely, will the right hon. Gentleman also confirm that any excess of the estimate over the sums made available in respect of in lieu acceptances will be passed to the Fund as an addition to its income?

I have another important query. Now that acceptances in lieu are being placed on a new footing in the Bill, will the right hon. Gentleman tell us precisely how he plans to obtain expert advice on the pre-eminence or otherwise of works of art offered in satisfaction of tax? He will be aware that the old system was not working satisfactorily and that the Select Committee came up with a constructive suggestion for reform. If he has completed consideration of this point, which he informed me was in progress some time ago, will he take this opportunity to impart his conclusions to the House? It is important that the House should know.

This is a most welcome piece of legislation which meets the concern of all the parties to the heritage. It was a pleasure to serve on the Committee with such amenable colleagues. I believe that we have ensured the better conservation of all aspects of our heritage, which now plays such an important part in our economic life and in the cultural lives not only of natives of Britain but of the many tourists who flock in to look at our heritage in all its aspects. I believe that Hugh Dalton's dream has been more than fulfilled. For once the House can be proud of its work and sure of the value of its legislative decision in these matters.

8.50 pm

It is a great pleasure to join hands across the Chamber and welcome this significant piece of legislation. I add my congratulations to those that have been given to my right hon. Friend for his drive in carrying major responsibility for this Bill. I congratulate also my hon. Friend the Member for Dumfries (Mr. Monro), to whom tributes have already been paid, for a magnificent job in Committee. Without his calm, patient understanding, I do not think that the Bill would be quite the measure that we now have. He considered most carefully a number of important points. He obviously had lengthy discussions with my right hon. Friend, as a result of which improvements ensued.

This is only the beginning of the road in many ways. Although for many of us it is a day of celebration, we would be deluding ourselves if we thought that all the problems of the heritage will pass into oblivion when the Bill reaches the statute book. I said on Second Reading that this is only one strand of a comprehensive heritage policy. Without long-awaited tax concessions and reforms in the Budget and other proposals to which we all look forward, there will be a flood of heritage objects on to the market with which the fund will be unable to cope. It can be effective only as a safety net. It will survive as a safety net only if it is not tested too often.

I hope that all hon. Members realise that this is just one victory and that our heritage has not been rescued from all the dangers that threaten it merely by the passage of the Bill, welcome as it is. The Bill is, however, a significant milestone. It is the most important piece of heritage legislation since the war. For that, my right hon. Friend, my hon. Friend the Member for Dumfries and my hon. and learned—and benevolent—Friend the Minister of State, Treasury, who played a part this afternoon, have our grateful thanks.

I sincerely hope that their Lordships' House will consider that we have examined the Bill fairly thoroughly and will give it a quick and speedy passage so that it receives the Royal Assent in good time for the trustees to be appointed and the Bill to come into effect on 1 April.

8.54 pm

The Leader of the House paid tribute, properly, to the heritage movement. Having occupied many column inches of the Committee proceedings in the Official Report and having had my say today, I should like simply to say "Thank you" to the many heritage bodies in Scotland that were brought together on the initiative of the National Trust for Scotland and have done a great deal of constructive work on the Bill. They may be a model of how to influence events, particularly as they had the maximum co-operation from the Civil Service. But the heritage bodies helped themselves greatly by letting civil servants and Ministers know exactly what was in their minds at an early stage. The civil servants were extremely co-operative, constructive and helpful.

I have been remiss. I am sure that the hon. Gentleman would agree that it would be a great shame if the Bill were passed without the name of Mr. Jeremy Benson being recorded.

It is always invidious to pick out names. We have had a great deal of help from all sorts of heritage bodies. I shall not speak of a heritage lobby, because there has been no trace of self-interest on their part. Naturally, one is alert for that.

I say "Thank you" to the bodies concerned, because unless we have available to us the kind of briefings that they provided I am not sure that on such a complex matter the House can be effective.

8.56 pm

With permission, I should like to reply briefly to three points.

First, the fund will receive a grant in aid that cannot be raided to provide more for acceptance in lieu.

Secondly, the sources of expert advice for the pre-eminence test that the hon. Member for Warley, East (Mr. Faulds) raised are under consideration. My officials are discussing the matter with our present expert advisers and the Standing Commission on Museums and Galleries and the Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts. Any excess on the acceptance in lieu provision in any year can be transferred to the National Heritage Memorial Fund trustees.

I was extremely glad that the hon. Member for West Lothian (Mr. Dalyell)paid tribute to the civil servants. We take the help, advice and work of the civil servants for granted, so much so that normally they receive no tributes, although from time to time they receive censure. I should like to put my experience on record. I do not think that on this Bill and other matters I could have received more devoted, intelligent and constructive service than I have had from the Civil Service.

Question put and agreed to.

Bill accordingly read the Third time and passed.