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Volume 470: debated on Thursday 24 January 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what plans he has for the long-term future of the Portable Antiquities Scheme; and if he will make a statement. (180100)

The Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) is funded by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) and so any decisions on its future funding will be taken by the MLA. In recognition of the importance of the scheme, I am very pleased to be able to confirm that the MLA has announced that it intends to maintain current levels of support for the PAS in 2008-09. The MLA will consider options for future funding of the PAS in the context of its priorities for museum collections and public participation.

The PAS is of national importance and the MLA is committed to seeing it thrive and evolve. The MLA will continue to work with the British Museum and other stakeholders to build on the scheme’s success in advancing archaeological knowledge—for finders, museums and, most importantly, the wider public.