The Board's General Function

Part of National Heritage Bill [Lords] – in the House of Commons at 8:45 pm on 5 May 1983.

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Photo of Mr Phillip Whitehead Mr Phillip Whitehead , Derby North 8:45, 5 May 1983

With the leave of the House, Mr. Deputy Speaker, I shall reply to the Minister's intervention. In essence, this is a probing amendment. Our attempts to advance the case for the armouries have been bedevilled by the status that they hold. The two Ministers on the Government Front Bench represent different Departments but they are working happily in tandem on the Bill, as are the Opposition Front Bench spokesmen. However, assurances given by the Minister for the Arts have not in all circumstances come the way of the armouries. For example, the V and A and other museums have Vote status under the Bill, but that is not extended to the armouries. The distinction extends to the power to charge for exhibitions and the letting out of premises.

The armouries feel that they have a grievance. I shall pass on to the Minister my correspondence with the Marshal of the armouries and write a further letter asking for clarification of some of the issues that have been raised. The Minister has said that he will review the status of the armouries to ascertain whether their worries can be alleviated. I am happy to accept that assurance, and on that basis I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.