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Works Of Art (Export Licences)

Volume 21: debated on Monday 29 March 1982

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1.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will state, pursuant to his reply to the hon. Member for Isle of Ely, Official Report, 10 March, column 406, what other information it is his Department's policy not to disclose.

Each request to my Department for information is considered on its merits

Will the Minister accept that the only sane criteria for withholding information are national security. commercial confidentiality or disproportionate costs? Will[his Department try a little harder when considering export certificates for works of art, or the day-to-day running of the English Tourist Board?

I did not know that there was any problem about the English Tourist Board or works of art. We grant about 38, 000 export licences a year and approximately 4, 000 of those are for works of art. Of those 4, 000, only 1 or 2 per cent. are controversial. All details about them are published at the end of the year.