Local Museums and Galleries

Oral Answers to Questions — The Arts – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 26th June 1989.

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Photo of Nicholas Soames Nicholas Soames , Crawley 12:00 am, 26th June 1989

To ask the Minister for the Arts what steps he is taking to encourage national institutions to send artefacts to local museums and galleries.

Photo of Mr Richard Luce Mr Richard Luce , Shoreham

National museums and galleries are active in lending artefacts to local museums and galleries. I am specifically encouraging further such activity through my funding provided to the Museums and Galleries Commission's travelling exhibitions unit.

Photo of Nicholas Soames Nicholas Soames , Crawley

I thank my right hon. Friend for that good news. Is he aware that the high cost of insuring art exhibits is one of the reasons why borough councils and others are deterred from making full use of the increased facilities that the Department has offered? What steps will my right hon. Friend take to make the procedure easier and to assist them with insurances?

Photo of Mr Richard Luce Mr Richard Luce , Shoreham

My hon. Friend has put his finger on what was the problem in the past. He might be interested to know that in 1988–89 no less than £1 billion of Government indemnity has been provided. That is a record figure and has saved the national museums and galleries £5 million in commercial insurance. The scheme plays a leading role in facilitating lending.