National Heritage Act 1980: Government Indemnity Scheme

House of Lords written question – answered on 4th December 2003.

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Photo of Lord Gregson Lord Gregson Labour

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What were the details of any indemnity undertakings given under Section 16 of the National Heritage Act 1980 for the six-month period ending 30 September.

Photo of Lord McIntosh of Haringey Lord McIntosh of Haringey Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Culture, Media & Sport, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Culture, Media and Sport) (Media and Heritage)

The provision for the Government Indemnity Scheme is made by the National Heritage Act 1980. The scheme facilitates public access to loans of works of art and other objects for public display made to museums, galleries and other such institutions by private owners and non-national institutions. It does this by indemnifying lenders against loss or damage to their loan. Loans covered by the scheme must be for public benefit. The scheme also covers loans of such objects for study purposes within borrowing institutions where this would contribute materially to the public's understanding or appreciation of the loan. Examples of this are enhancing interpretation or explanation to the public of objects or bringing into the public domain the conclusions of any study.

In the six-month period ended 30 September, the following undertakings to indemnify were given under Section 16 by the relevant departments for objects on loan to national and non-national institutions:

Department for Culture, Media and Sport 610
Scottish Executive Education Department 232
The National Assembly for Wales 241

The value of contingent liabilities in respect of undertakings given at any time under Section 16 and which remained outstanding as at 30 September is:

Department for Culture, Media and Sport 2,954,237,461
Scottish Executive Education Department 695,960,679
The National Assembly for Wales 67,838,929

The value of non-statutory government indemnities to cover loans handled by the Government Art Collection and which remained outstanding as at 30 September is £4,500,000.

The value of non-statutory undertakings given by Her Majesty in respect of loans from the Royal Collection and which remained outstanding as at 30 September is £170,694,295.

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