asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will implement the recommendations of the Royal Commission on National Museums and Galleries which reported in 1929.
Perhaps the hon. Member is interested in the Royal Commission's recommendation that an Act should be passed empowering the trustees of the British Museum, the National and Tate Galleries to make loans overseas. This recommendation was implemented in the National Gallery (Overseas Loans) Act, 1935, to the extent that the National and Tate Galleries now have power to lend pictures by British artists for public exhibition abroad and for display in the official houses of British Ambassadors. It is always open to the trustees of these institutions to suggest that Parliament should be asked to confer wider powers on them.
Is the Financial Secretary aware that it is desirable that power should be taken by the trustees of the British Museum to lend objects abroad, even if it be specifically only to legations and embassies, which are technically British territory, and if it be only to make certain that people abroad are able to see some of the best of our things and not always have the impression that we show only the very worst?
Will the hon. Gentleman encourage the museums concerned to make further loans before our national collections are rifled by thieves taking advantage of the Government's economy cuts.