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Works Of Art (Capital Transfer Tax)

Volume 990: debated on Thursday 7 August 1980

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asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster whether, further to his written answer to the hon. Member for Warley, East, Official Report, 28 July, column 480, he will publish in the Official Report in answer to this question his promised statement on the interpretation of pre-eminence of works of art and museum objects accepted in satisfaction of capital transfer tax.

Following consultations with the national museums and galleries and the relevant advisory bodies, I have decided that the present system of obtaining expert advice on the preeminence of objects offered in satisfaction of tax should be revised and detailed guidelines issued on the interpretation of pre-eminence. I shall continue to rely on the directors of the national museums and galleries as my principal source of advice but shall expect them usually to consult widely, particularly where an object has local significance or could be of especial interest within a local context, before formulating their advice. In cases of doubt they will be expected to consult the Standing Commission on museums and galleries or the Royal Commission on historical manuscripts which will then, if necessary, convene an informal panel of independent advisers which may include a representative of the relevant Historic Buildings Council. The new procedure will be kept under review. I am sending to the hon. Member a copy of the guidelines on the interpretation of pre-eminence and shall arrange for a copy also to be placed in the Library of the House.