§ 3.42 p.m.
§ Mr. Andrew Faulds (Smethwick)
I beg to move,That this House deplores the imposition of entrance charges to the national museums and galleries which will diminish educational opportunities, particularly for the young and old; and declares its opposition to such charges, which will further the Government's clear intention of creating a divided nation.A proposition to charge entrance fees for museums came before the House on a previous occasion. It was withdrawn, in a single sentence, by the then Chancellor of the Exchequer, Mr. Stanley Baldwin, after Mr. Foot—an earlier Mr. Foot—had this to say:It is quite possible for a junior clerk in a Government Department, who couples a faculty for figures with an entire lack of imagination and intelligence, to make all kinds of suggestions for increasing the national revenue. Turnstiles may be put round our public parks and commons, and admission fees might be charged for our abbeys and cathedrals, and even for the Galleries of this House."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 26th March, 1923; Vol. 162, c. 141.]I had imagined that this ludicrous imposition of charges had been garnered by some official to fill out a neat package for the Chancellor of the Exchequer at the time of his mini-Budget. If so, that poor clerk's prospects are somewhat diminished. I had not thought that the Minister responsible for the arts would go out of his way, as he did in another place on 16th December, to press himself eagerly forward as the one person responsible for this imposition. Viscount Eccles has somehow acquired a reputation as a connoisseur of the arts when, in fact, he is merely, as most of us know, who know something about him, a commercial collector and part-time dealer—[HON. MEMBERS: "Cheap."]—"cheap" is an appropriate adjective for the noble Viscount. If hon. Members wish to dispute this, perhaps they will refer to a better authority than myself—Denys Sutton in the April issue of Apollo. He is better known. I suggest that Apollo as 994 bedtime reading would do hon. Members a world of good. Viscount Eccles is better known to his colleagues inside and outside the House as "Smartie Boots"—[Laughter.] I am glad the term is so easily recognised. He is the gentleman who claimed the Queen as his leading lady at the time of Her Majesty's Coronation. Viscount Eccles said in another place:I proposed to the Cabinet the introduction of charges to enter museums. Nobody forced it on me. I thought it was right and I asked my colleagues to endorse it.We have no choice but to believe him.
There had been no consultation whatsoever with the directors or trustees of any of the 18 national institutions. The noble Lord apologised for this by saying:I am very sorry about the feeling of the directors in regard to consultation, but anyone who has had anything to do with financial legislation will realise that this is a case where consultation was not possible. When the Chancellor of the Exchequer is making up his package of financial changes, we never air particular ones until that has been composed and then opened to Parliament in another place.Later in the debate, Lord Diamond, who has more experience of Treasury practice, gave this statement the counter direct:My Lords, it is a matter of fairly regular practice, to which I can bear first-hand witness, that the Treasury and the Inland Revenue consult…"—[OFFICAL REPORT, House of Lords, 16th December, 1970: Vol. 313, c. 1391–1470.]
Mr. Deputy Speaker
Order. I am sorry to interupt the hon. Gentleman, but what he is saying is out of order. He may not quote a statement made in another place; only a Minister of the Crown may do that.
§ Mr. Faulds
You will forgive me in my innocence, Mr. Deputy Speaker. The point which Lord Diamond was making in another place was that it was possible to consult interested bodies before introducing measures of this sort, and it had been his practice to do so. This suggests to me that the Minister responsible for the arts did not consult because he did not trust his trustees. In the debate in another place on 16th December he claimed that he was consulting the institutions. These consultations had consisted of his writing, two days after the mini-Budget, on 29th October, to all the directors of the national institutions. Lord 995 Eccles made his usual misinformed and misleading excuse about the impossibility of prior consulation and went on to state that he would like to meet the directors of all the museums and galleries in London—12 of them—to discuss the points on which he hoped to have their views. He wrote:A further letter will be sent about the arrangements for this meeting.That is a categorical statement—quite categoric—but no such further letter followed. There was no such meeting and no consultation even then in the real meaning of the word.
Understandably, the art world took to arms. The trustees of the Tate Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery issued a statement deploring the charges. Baroness Lee stated in another place that the Trustees of the British Museum were also totally opposed, with possibly one or two exceptions.
The Secretary of State refused my request to publish the reply she received from the Trustees of the National Gallery. I think we can guess why. And still the Paymaster-General took damn-all notice of their various representations, which were as adverse from practically every Board of Trustees. In fact—and this is really disgraceful—he did not even bother to reply to their representations.
The extent of further consultation was a letter from the noble Lord, after his White Paper, asking how the various boards intended to implement his proposals. Then in the other place, on 26th May, he stated the following. If I am not allowed to quote directly—
Mr. Deputy Speaker
If I did not make myself clear, I should have explained that it is in order to quote from a statement by the Minister made in another place. What is not in order is to quote from the speech of some other noble Lord.
§ Mr. Faulds
I am grateful to you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, for making the position clear. Then I will quote what the Minister said in the House of Lords on 26th May. 996The legislation will be enabling legislation. We do not intend to impose charges on any museum."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, House of Lords, 26th May, 1971; Vol. 319, c. 1279.]By saying that he was merely compounding his offence. He wanted the trustees to do his dirty work for him. He restated this intention on 15th June, as did the right hon. Lady the Secretary of State for Education on the same day in a Written Reply, that the legislation would not impose a statutory obligation to charge.
Those answers would suggest that the trustees were free to make up their own minds whether to impose charges or not. Not at all. Even the usually psychophantic Daily Telegraph, with its dedicated boys brigade of toe-the-liners, began to remark on the fact that "Smartie Boots", having put one carefully manicured foot in it, was about to plunk in the other. Its headline on 17th June was "No obligation on museum charges". But on 18th June it was "No option for museums on entry charges". Perhaps as a son of the manse, and in comment on the conduct of the noble Lord, I may, as my text for today, quote the well-known couplet:O, what a tangled web we weave,When once we practise to deceive.
§ Mr. Faulds
If I have misquoted, I have no doubt that somebody will misquote it a little better later.
§ Mr. Faulds
They are usually the best. As the noble Lord was about to absent himself awhile from Westminster, visit-bound for Venezuela, one of the Daily Telegraph political correspondents caught him—I think at London Airport. He got the peevish comment from Lord Eccles:Of course we are going to require all the museums to charge. I am sorry it has not been made absolutely clear.He can say that again! The comment of Sir Anthony Blunt, the Director of the Courtauld Institute of Art—he is a kindly and charitable fellow, I am told—was that the Government had got itself into an absolutely unholy muddle. That is a pretty apt description. And with this lot it will not be the last time.
997 What Lord Eccles must say again is what he means by the word "require". Even after the enabling legislation, it will not be legally incumbent on the galleries to impose charges if they do not wish to, and Ministers know this. How is Lord Eccles going to "require" them to comply? According to Sir Anthony Blunt this implies the use of sanctions, and he wonders what kind of sanctions are intended. Some of us less charitably inclined than he would describe this sort of political pressure not as sanctions but as blackmail. The noble Lord himself made absolutely clear in the other place what he means:… without the introduction of charges, the capital programme set out in paragraph 6 of the White Paper could not now be authorised to start."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, House of Lords, 26th May, 1971; Vol. 319, c. 1280.]What is that if it is not blackmail? Those parts of the programme which are set out in the White Paper in paragraph 6 include the following: British Museum, amenities block which only awaits final planning permission from Camden, and the adaptation of the former Ethnography Galleries; National Gallery, completion of air conditioning; National Portrait Gallery, purchase of additional land and construction of a new building for the Gallery; Science Museum, air conditioning and expansion within the East Block; Tate Gallery, Bulinga Street extension; Victoria and Albert Museum, adaptation of Huxley Building, to take the Indian collection.
Further down the same column the noble Lord said in the other place [c. 1280–81]:The second list,"—he is talking there of paragraph 6 of the White Paper—for which the money is not included in any programme, is of projects that are now authorised to start as soon as they are ready. When there is a large building project, it takes a long time to get all the plans ready right down to the details, and to be told, when you have the plans ready and you can go to tender, that the money will be there this year and in the succeeding years is something that has not been done before with the schemes in paragraph 6. They amount to approximately £11 million…In other words, Lord Eccles is holding to ransom the trustees of the various boards. If he does not get his million quid they will not get their eleven million quid. He spelt it out clearly. But if 998 his sanctions are not against the building plans and developments and infer a cut in the purchase grants of the galleries, by calculating what the individual institutions might have collected and then deducting pro tanto, which is another suggested sanction of his, does he realise that in the case of the Tate he is making a direct threat to the livelihood of living British artists? Has he yet cottoned on to that simple fact? What an outrageous, mischievous way of conducting his policy.
§ Mr. St. John-Stevas
I welcome the hon. Gentleman in his maiden speech from the Opposition Front Bench, and I am only sorry that his translation has not altered his performance. [An HON. MEMBER: "We thought there would be a twist in it."] We are all entitled to make our own points. Is not the important point being made by the hon. Gentleman—[HON. MEMBERS: "Sit down."]—that there is in fact a museum extension programme of £1 million? If one takes this in relation to the record increase in the Arts Council grant of £2.6 million, then the museum charges fall into proportion.
§ Mr. Faulds
The hon. Member for Chelmsford, as is not infrequently the case, does not seem to have got the point. We are talking about the imposition of sanctions. We are not talking about parts of the Minister of Art's programme, some of which are quite good. But the Minister's behaviour and comments on this particular aspect of the problem have been outrageous, and the hon. Gentleman would surely not try to pretend otherwise.
The noble Lord is putting the trustees of the boards in an impossible position. He is prepared to use quite improper pressures to get them to comply with his wishes. Notwithstanding his threats, the Tate Trustees last Thursday, after their meeting, issued this courageous statement:The trustees are not prepared to introduce admission charges unless there is an unequivocal public statement on behalf of the Government that they are required to do so—in other words, that in practice they have no freedom in this matter.And the British Museum on Saturday made it clear thatMeanwhile they do not consider any action on their part is required.999 I have no doubt that other boards of trustees will now begin to comprehend the ploy of the noble Viscount. And I have no doubt that they, too, will consider the implications of yielding to such improper political pressures. It is unthinkable that trustees, who give of their services voluntarily in the public sphere, should be subjected to political pressures by the Government of the day—this day or any other day. As David Piper, Director of the Fitzwilliam Museum, wrote to The Times on 9th FebruaryI took it for granted that a prime function of my trustees was to defend the integrity and long-term interests of the Gallery against the naughty expediencies of ephemeral politicians.And there are a number of them in this House at the moment.
In an issue of this nature concerning public collections, there is nothing unhealthy in a democracy in a fair debate and a public rebuttal of Government interference. I wish that some of the trustees would remember that. Some of us who are not ephemeral politicians will be watching closely the reactions of the boards of trustees of the national institutions to the passing political ploys of what will be a very short-lived Government. Many hon. Members on both sides of the House interpret the trustees' rôle as one of prime responsibility to their institutions and to the public use of them, and their duty to be to resist the political pressures of any and every Government, whether the Minister for the Arts is Lord Eccles or the hon. Member for Smethwick (Mr. Faulds)—[Interruption.] Hon. Members may have to live with it.
Now I wish to deal with the educational aspect of this matter. Clearly these charges are educationally retrogressive, for most of the great national museums have been part of our country's free educational system for more than a century, the British Museum for two centuries. They are a great public store house of the scientific and artistic achievements of all mankind in his questing and continuing attack both on the frontiers of knowledge and on the limitations of self-knowledge.
§ Mr. James Allason (Hemel Hempstead)
Is not the hon. Gentleman aware that charges were made at most of our 1000 national galleries on two days a week before the war?
§ Mr. Faulds
I was aware of that point. But it is a pretty peripheral one when we are discussing the imposition of charges at all museums on every day of the week.
The noble Lord clearly is breaching a fundamental principle. It is not a privilege, but a right to enjoy communion with such treasures, without regard to one's ability to pay. Children should grow up in an environment where museums are of as easy access as parks and sports fields.
§ Mr. Faulds
Probably they will.
It was Lord Eccles himself who described these institutions as… one of the greatest areas of adult education, let alone of children's".What did he promise in the Lords debate? He said that… the social service principle of assessing categories of persons who might be hurt by increased charges will be applied to museum charges."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, House of Lords, 16th December, 1970; Vol. 313, c. 1393–4.]What do we find in his White Paper? Children under 16 have to pay. It is true that they will pay only 5p, but to a host of children who now wander round in wonder and delight that 5p will debar them. It must be remembered that the inquisitive child of today is the Henry Moore or the Roy Strong of tomorrow—[Interruption.] The Under-Secretary of State may gurgle in that way, but Roy Strong himself told me that if there had been charges for admission to galleries in his youth he would never have become Director of the National Portait Gallery. The Eccleses and the Under-Secretaries of State of this world are out of touch with actuality.
§ Mr. Peter Rost (Derbyshire, South-East)
The hon. Gentleman is so knowledgeable about this subject that I am sure he will be aware that most galleries in the world make charges. Can he explain why attendances have gone up in cases where charges have been imposed?
§ Mr. Faulds
I have done my homework to the extent that I can give the 1001 counter direct. The experience in comparable galleries like the Louvre, the Jeu de Paumes and Versailles, where charges were increased from one to three francs in the summer of 1967 is that attendances fell. Do not let the hon. Gentleman quote Norwich Castle at me, because I know more about attendances than he does.
§ Mr. Jeffrey Archer (Louth)
The hon. Gentleman has quoted the counter direct. No doubt he realises that is from "Much ado about nothing", which goes rather well with his speech.
§ Mr. Faulds
No. The surprise is that the hon. Gentleman has heard of the play.
Students will have to make arrangements in advance to pursue whatever their studies may be. But students do not work like that. They move as the spirit takes them, and the necessity to make prior arrangements will deprive them of the sudden decision to get up and go. Some hon. Members on this side of the House can remember being students. Perhaps the elderly hon. Gentlemen slumped on the benches opposite cannot. No wonder every educational body is deeply opposed to the charges.
Then there is the exclusion of old-age pensioners from the free categories. What a disgraceful decision. [HON. MEMBER: "Hear, hear."] It is even more disgraceful that we do not hear a few "hear, hears" from the benches opposite—[Interruption.] I thought that I might get a little support if I baited hon. Gentlemen opposite enough.
The number of old folk who visit museums and galleries is probably a very small proportion of attenders. But they are the fortunate few who have discovered the enrichment that such places bring.
The right hon. Lady made it clear why the Government will not exempt old-age pensioners when she said on 24th May:The basic charge can only be kept to 10p by having the minimum of exemptions."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 24th May, 1971; Vol. 817, c. 42.]So much for old-age pensioners, as long as Eccles raises his miserable £1 million. What about people on supplementary benefit or family income supplement? 1002 What provisions have been made for them? In Tory philosophy such people do not matter. Any one who cannot reach in his pocket can do without.
The noble Viscount made the point that to charge was a political principle which was central to the policy on which right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite fought the General Election. Of course, they did not come quite as clean as that. But their intention was to disband and discard the social equitability of the Welfare State. We know how intensely they have gone about that exercise.
The House will recall the present Prime Minister's first words on the steps of No. 10, flushed with victory—
§ Mr. Faulds
I should not be surprised if those were his first words, because I have no doubt that the attendants at No. 10 were as surprised as the rest of the country. However, the right hon. Gentleman's first reported words consisted of all the waffle about a united nation and not a divided one. Now we see an extension of the divisions which the right hon. Gentleman has consciously promoted in our community, spreading even into cultural matters. I think that Basil Taylor, the eminent art historian, summed it up most neatly when he said:This is an additional divisive tax. The appreciation of our national heritage will depend upon our ability to pay.The dogma of these little men and, I am afraid, these little women is deeply damaging to the social unity of our country and to its educational future. The Prime Minister is fully aware that the cultural community, everyone in the arts world, has lost confidence in the Minister for the Arts. He is a failure. Indeed, it might be more correct to describe him as a national disaster. The Prime Minister's problem is that he cannot kick his Minister upstairs. But there must be some board on to which the Prime Minister can palm him off. I gather from the Press that the noble lord has sought temporary refuge in Venezuela. He is probably trying to flog some more of our few Velasquezes.
In his absence, may I suggest to the right hon. Lady—she is, after all, his boss and a Member of the Cabinet—the fairest, simplest and most responsible way 1003 out of the dilemma into which the noble Lord has put her and her colleagues. When one of Labour Government's Ministers of Education made what is now generally accepted as a ministerial bloomer about the British Museum Bloomsbury site, they did not plough ahead regardless of public and Parliamentary disapproval; they took notice of the informed strictures of the Trustees of the British Museum, who were deeply concerned about the matter, and set up the Dainton Committee to review the whole vexed question, with the happy outcome that we now all know.
Has the right hon. Lady not the sense or the sensibility—or has she neither—to face the fact of the near unanimous hostility and opposition to the imposition of these charges? It is no use her pretending that there is not universal opposition to this measure, because both she and her underling know the facts. It is, after all, not only the noble Lord's political future which has come to judgment; it is her own as well, because she is the Minister finally responsible.
Will the hon. Lady consult her right hon. Friend the Prime Minister—we do not expect an answer tonight—and consider the setting-up of a Committee properly to examine this whole question? "Smarty Boots" can go hang himself with his own bootlaces. The important thing is to set up a Committee.
The right hon. Lady can still the storm raging in the cultural and educational world: she can bring blessings untold on the future development of our museums and galleries; she can salvage a shred or two of the Government's rapidly declining reputation for straight dealing; and she can alter a degree or two the divisive course on which the Government are bound. Has she the guts to do it? Or perhaps, as she is a right hon. Lady, I should phrase it slightly differently: has she the heart not to do it?
§ 4.12 p.m.
§ The Secretary of State for Education and Science (Mrs. Margaret Thatcher)
We have had payment for drama for many years, but that does not seem to have deterred some people from becoming very dramatic.
The hon. Member for Smethwick (Mr. Faulds) has made a maiden speech from 1004 that Dispatch Box which could scarcely be called non-controversial. But I agree with him on one thing: we are not all ephemeral politicians—certainly not those of us on this side of the House. I am happy to reply on behalf of my noble Friend the Paymaster-General who, in education, is universally acknowledged as one of the greatest Education Ministers of all time, and who has done a great deal for the artistic world, as I shall show later in my speech.
The hon. Member for Smethwick has made a number of serious points, and I shall hope to cover his main arguments during my speech. He chose his own tone. I shall choose a slightly different, quieter tone.
There are several things upon which we can all agree. First, that the valuable collections of the museums and galleries should be properly house and displayed, maintained and expanded, so that they can be enjoyed by as many people as possible.
Secondly, that in many cases the present facilities are insufficient for this purpose and that more resources, both capital and revenue, are required.
Thirdly, that considerable sums of Exchequer moneys will continue to need to be injected into the creative arts—music, drama, art—to further their development and to bring them to the public.
Fourthly, the costs are not in dispute. They are all derived from published figures in the Civil Estimates. The net voted expenditure on national museums and galleries affected by charges is £18.5 million per annum. The total number of visitors is estimated at 16 million. Therefore, the cost borne by the taxpayer is significantly above £1 per visitor to the museums and galleries.
The number of people employed in the national museums and galleries in England and Wales this year is 3,400. This is a labour-intensive service. By contrast, I should perhaps mention that the staff of the D.E.S. responsible for the central Government rôle in education and science are fewer in number. They number 3,000 in England and Wales.
§ Mr. John Mendelson (Penistone)
What is the significance of the figure of £1 per visitor? Is the right hon. Lady implying that if there were slightly fewer 1005 visitors we ought to close down the collections of the British Museum to which scholars have been going for so many years? What is this nonsense about £1 per visitor?
§ Mrs. Thatcher
I was implying that the hon. Gentleman might be able to do a little mental arithmetic. I am sorry if I was wrong.
Charging for admission to national monuments, collections, historic buildings, and so on, is an old-established practice. At the Tower of London, where the attendance is 2.3 million per year, the charge in April to September is 20p for adults and 5p for children and old-age pensioners. At the Zoological Society in Regent's Park, where the attendance is 2 million per annum, a charge of 45p is made for adults.
Charging for admission to museums and galleries is no new principle. The Tate, the Wallace, the National Gallery, the National Portrait Gallery, the National Gallery for Scotland and the London Museum have all made charges at some time in the past—mostly before 1939. The Victoria and Albert Museum made charges prior to 1914. Some of these galleries now make charges for special collections. For example, the Tate, and recently the Victoria and Albert, charged 30p for the exhibition of costumes used in the TV series Henry VIII. The day on which I visited the Victoria and Albert, that was the busiest part of the museum.
§ Mrs. Renée Short (Wolverhampton, North-East)
Does the right hon. Lady seriously suggest that because individual and special collections are brought together for which charges are made that should be the criterion for charging always when anyone wants to go into a museum or gallery? Does she not think that there is a reason—possibly a very good one—for people being willing to pay to see a collection which may never be assembled again?
§ Mrs. Thatcher
No. I am pointing out that charging is no new principle, either in general or in relation to special collections. These matters are not in dispute because they are facts. As no new principle or practice is involved, it would seem that the argument is about narrower issues.
1006 The difference between us is whether those who can and do visit the museums should pay a little more towards their upkeep through admission fees than those who cannot or do not. We accept a charge for admission in the case of opera, music, drama, and so on, although they also are subsidised.
The alternatives for the museums and galleries are: first, no extra money in real terms; secondly, extra money from the taxpayer on the usual basis, regardless of whether he does or can use the facilities; that is to say income for income, the man in the Outer Hebrides or in the West Country pays the same as the person who, living nearer, can readily use the main national facilities; or, thirdly, extra money from those who enjoy museums and galleries by way of a charge of about one-tenth of the subsidy which the taxpayer will continue to pay. It seems to me that most visitors, realising that the taxpayer already pays about £1 per visit, would be quite prepared to pay 10p themselves.
I turn now to the charges in the White Paper. The aim is to obtain a net additional income of £1 million. This is a modest aim and the individual basic charge of 10p, or 5p for children under 16, is well within the means of most people. The season ticket of £1, or 50p for those under 16, is excellent value and should encourage more people to visit the museums more often.
The Motion alleges that these charges will diminish educational opportunities. That is not so. Special arrangements are made for educational parties which, I believe, will enhance the value of the visits. In 1969 Her Majesty's Inspectorate visited 12 national museums in London, and one in Cardiff. It also visited some other museums in London and the provinces. Its objective was to examine the contributions of museums to education, and to suggest how available resources might be better used. Its experience and findings are being collated and will appear as an education survey as soon as possible.
It is perhaps superfluous, but I do, nevertheless, stress that the inspectorate found everywhere a great desire on the part of the museums staffs to contribute as much as possible to the education of our young people through the exhibits in our museums. But almost all the 1007 museums reported inadequate facilities, and all await increased resources.
The specific point to which my attention has been drawn is that the value of many school visits would have been greatly enhanced if there had been discussions between the teacher and the museum education staff before the plans to visit the museum were made. The White Paper, in providing for free prearranged educational parties, will encourage more of that kind of discussion. It will enable museums to spread the visits in such a way that the parties receive the maximum attention and benefit from their visits. Scholars who visit museums by arrangement will, of course, continue to be admitted free.
§ Mr. Nigel Spearing (Acton)
Would not the right hon. Lady agree that where there is free access to museums, particularly in the London area, one of the great benefits of school parties is that it is hoped that the child will visit museums fairly frequently on his own afterwards? Would not the right hon. Lady agree that the imposition of charges will reduce the opportunity for such later visits?
§ Mrs. Thatcher
From an educational point of view it is better that the child should go first with a teacher or a guide. He will gain more that way. Subsequently, he can go to the museum by paying 5p, which compares very well with charges for visits to the zoo, to the Tower, and to other places at which there are large attendances.
§ Mr. Norman Buchan (Renfrew, West)
Either the right hon. Lady has not understood what she is saying or she is confused. She is saying that educational visits will be a valuable experience for a child if they are prearranged, but that is what happens today. There is no difference. The right hon. Lady should not claim any merit for her scheme which will allow educational visits to be arranged. What is the merit that she is claiming?
§ Mrs. Thatcher
Quite simply that under the arrangements set out in the White Paper educational visits with teachers will have to be prearranged. The prearrangement will enable discussions to take place between the museum authorities and the teachers. That does 1008 not always happen now when teachers take parties to museums. The educational value of a prearranged visit is specifically provided for in the White Paper. The Inspectorate found that what is proposed does not always happen at the moment, and it recommended that it should.
A number of my hon. Friends—the hon. Members for Chelmsford (Mr. St. John-Stevas), Louth (Mr. Jeffrey Archer), Ipswich (Mr. Money), and many others—have asked my noble Friend to make special arrangements for retirement pensioners, and the hon. Gentleman mentioned them this afternoon. They and other commentators have pointed out that on production of their pension books pensioners can secure admission at much reduced prices at a number of institutions For example, at the Tower of London and Hampton Court, although the charge in season is 20p for adults, old-age pensioners can get in for 5p. At the Queen's Gallery, although the charge is 15p, old-age pensioners can get in for 5p. Many cinemas have specially reduced prices on certain days, and some local authorities have concessionary travel rates. It has been decided, therefore, that the charge for retirement pensioners will be 5p instead of 10p or 20p which others will pay. That charge will apply at all times, including during July and August when the basic charge for adults is 20p.
§ Mr. St. John-Stevas
While I should have preferred no charge at all for old-age pensioners, nevertheless that is a very important concession and a great improvement in the position, for which I am grateful.
§ Mr. Edward Short (Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Central)
On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. On two occasions the hon. Member for Chelmsford (Mr. St. John-Stevas) has abused the right to intervene. Surely the right to intervene was never meant to be used for purposes of that kind, and he has done it twice during the debate.
Mr. Deputy Speaker
The right of intervention depends on the Member who has the Floor. If he gives way it is in order for the hon. Member who intervenes to say what he likes.
§ Mrs. Thatcher
My noble Friend is also considering the possibility of a family ticket available from a tourist authority, and whether a special combined season ticket can be issued to tourists extending present arrangements for admission to ancient monuments and historic houses.
§ Mr. Patrick Cormack (Cannock)
I hope that my right hon. Friend's noble Friend will give special attention to the holders of supplementary benefit books, and give them free admission.
§ Mrs. Thatcher
My noble Friend is considering the suggestion that pensioners receiving supplementary benefits should be admitted free, but I must tell the House that I have carried out a few preliminary investigations, and as a result I can foresee some administrative problems. There are three books—one for the basic pension, one for the basic and supplementary pension, and one for the supplementary pension only. All three books look identical on the outside. Indeed, it has been the object of successive Governments to make them virtually indistinguishable one from the other so that when a pension is collected from the Post Office no one can tell whether the drawer is on assistance, to use the old phrase, or not. It would require a close examination of the pages of the book to tell whether a person was receiving supplementary benefit. Those who would be required to tender their books in order to obtain a reduction in charges might not wish that a further examination should be made. My noble Friend and my right hon. Friend will consider those factors, and I should be grateful for the views of hon. Members during the debate, but I remember looking at the books to see how easy it would be to identify the person who was on supplementary benefit.
§ Mrs. Thatcher
I have already given way a great deal and I know that many hon. Members wish to take part in the debate. Perhaps the hon. Gentleman will allow me to continue.
I turn to the capital programme in the first paragraph of the White Paper—
§ Mr. Maclennan
On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. The right hon. Lady gave way, and understandably you ruled that it was in order, to two interventions which were of a congratulatory nature—
Mr. Deputy Speaker
Order. I am sorry to interrupt the hon. Member, but I am sure that the point he wants to make is not a point of order. The right hon. Lady—or, indeed, anyone who has the Floor of the House—can give way if she wishes. What is said by the Member who intervenes is of no concern to the Chair.
§ Mr. Maclennan
Further to that point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Are you saying that it matters not at all what an intervenor says, that he cannot be out of order?
Mr. Deputy Speaker
No, I am not saying that. All I am saying is that the Member who intervenes can say what he likes provided that what he says is in order, and the material, generally speaking, of what he says is in order unless it contravenes some clearly known rule of the House.
§ Mr. Maclennan
Perhaps I may seek some clarification on that point. Hon. Gentlemen on the Government side have intervened to make what appear to be prearranged interventions in order to congratulate the Minister on making a a concession. It gives the clear impression that the proceedings of the House are being abused. It takes up time and precludes genuine interventions. The right hon. Lady has objected to someone intervening to clear up an important point in the debate. That is a most unsatisfactory practice, and it does not seem proper if one type of intervention is allowed by the Government, and another genuine inquiry is not.
Mr. Deputy Speaker
Whether what the hon. Gentleman is putting is true or not, it does not make any difference to what I have said. I am sure he will recollect that very often Opposition Front Bench speakers draw great encouragement from something which their back benchers say by way of intervention. It is really the same all round.
§ Mrs. Thatcher
I believe that I have given way more to the Opposition than to my own side. I was only trying to continue my own speech—
§ Mr. Kenneth Lewis (Rutland and Stamford)
On a point of order. Is it in order for hon. Members opposite to use a point of order to show clearly that they do not agree with the concession which the Secretary of State has just made?
§ Mrs. Thatcher
I turn now to the capital programme. In the first paragraph of the White Paper, the Government, having announced the charges, said:…in consequence the Government are able to provide additional resources for the conservation and display of their collections.We therefore announced… a further substantial programme expected to lead to expenditure over the next five years averaging £2 million a year.The schemes in paragraph 6 have hitherto been waiting in the queue. Now there is a commitment to start when planning and design are completed, and this will add to the capacity of the institutions to look after their collections and to display them to visitors who are expecting higher and higher standards of display.
The hon. Member for Smethwick referred to legislation. There has been some confusion about the rôle of legislation in the matter of museum charges. May I set out the position and stress that there has been no change of policy?
First, some museums have an express statutory power to charge and some have charged in the past. These need no special powers to charge in the future. Second, there is some doubt about whether the British Museum, the British Museum (Natural History), and National Galleries of Scotland and the National Museum of Antiquities of Scotland have power to charge. The Government's legal advice is that the doubt is such that legislation is required to give a clear power to charge. The purpose of the legislation is therefore to put the power to charge beyond dispute.
In the words of the White Paper:Legislation to enable the Trustees of the British Museum, The British Museum 1012 (Natural History), the National Museum of Antiquities of Scotland the National Galleries of Scotland to charge will be introduced.The enabling nature of the legislation has been made clear throughout.
The national museums and galleries are almost wholly dependent for their expenditure on Government finance through the taxpayer. Therefore, once the powers are complete, the decision that the charges should be made is the Government's. On the understanding that £1 million annually in charges should be forthcoming, and in good faith, the Government are providing extra resources for museums and galleries. These will benefit those who use them and please all connected with them.
On this basis, and with the clear statement that the decision to charge is the Government's and the Government's alone, my noble Friend is confident that the trustees will co-operate in making the administrative arrangements best suited to their own institutions. The scheme must be simple and cheap to administer.
It is clear, therefore, that the Government are taking the responsibility and are not shuffling it off on to anyone.
§ Mrs. Thatcher
I have explained what I believe the trustees want, that the Government are taking responsibility for the charges. The Government are also the trustees for the taxpayer, so it is right and proper for the Government to say that, if extra money is required, it should come not from the taxpayer alone but those who regularly use and enjoy the facilities in the galleries. But no one is shuffling off responsibility to the trustees. My noble Friend and I and my right hon. Friends will carry it.
§ Mr. Faulds
Will the right hon. Lady make it clear that she is issuing instructions, regardless of their wishes, to the trustees of the national institutions to impose charges?
§ Mrs. Thatcher
That is quite clear. The Government require charges to be made. I hope that I have made that quite clear—
§ Mrs. Thatcher
I understood that the trustees wanted an unequivocal statement. I believe that I have now given them what they want.
Throughout his first year of office, my noble Friend has taken a positive and creative approach to the arts as a whole. The grant for the Arts Council was increased by £2.6 million for 1971–72. He has set in hand plans for rehousing the British Museum Library at a cost of £36 million over 13 years.
§ Mrs. Thatcher
As usual, the right hon. Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Central (Mr. Edward Short) did the preliminary planning, but it was left to someone else to make provision for the money. It is always left to someone else to make provision for the money, whether it be for the British Museum Library or the Arts Council.
Although it is dealt with in a separate White Paper, the British Museum Library project will release space for the other collections of the British Museum. My noble Friend has secured the extra capital resources mentioned in the White Paper, amounting to a 50 per cent. increase over previous provision, and the revenue requirements will go up too.
This is a programme for increasing and improving the heritage of the nation. To suggest, as the Motion does, that charges amounting to £1 million a year will divide a nation that already spends over £1,800 million a year on alcohol, £1,700 million on tobacco, £420 million on books, papers and magazines, £413 million on other entertainments and £59 million a year on the cinema is utter nonsense. I do not understand the logic that £59 million a year on films, good, bad or indifferent, does not divide a nation, while £1 million a year on wonderful pictures, sculptures and other treasures does divide a nation.
The cost of museums and galleries must rise if new accommodation is to be provided. If we do not attempt to make greater provision to display our treasures, we shall be throwing away one of the great educational opportunities of the present. The choice lies between levying increased taxation for all or charging a small amount—about one-tenth of the cost per visit—to those who use the galleries. I believe that, with the great expenditure 1014 demands now upon us, the latter is the better solution. I ask the House to reject the Motion.
§ 4.37 p.m.
§ Mr. J. Grimond (Orkney and Shetland)
I approached this matter with an open mind. I know that many galleries in this country have charged and that, many galleries abroad charge to this day. I do not believe that the imposition of these charges will mean the end of civilisation, but, equally, the more I examine the case for them the weaker it seems to be.
The right hon. Lady said that it was unfair to ask people from the remote parts of the country to pay through taxation for the upkeep of our national museums and galleries. It might be thought that since I represent the most remote part of the country I would be sympathetic to that argument. But let us consider what is happening. There was removed from the islands of Shetland a treasure of peculiar value and interest to Shetlanders. It is stored now in a museum in Edinburgh. It will not be given back to us. On the contrary, the Shetlanders will have to pay not only to go to Edinburgh but also to see it when they get there. So this charge will be of no benefit to us.
This whole debate gives us the opportunity to examine the thinking behind this policy. First, although one may welcome the concessions for old age pensioners, I deplore the tendency to divide people into categories and to make what amounts to little concessions and payments in kind for some of our fellow citizens who are allowed to live in unreasonable poverty. Second, I do not think that by raising £1 million towards what the Minister herself said will be a much bigger sum one will be doing very much for the great artistic life of the nation. When one considers the amount of money which will be raised by this and the trouble that it will cause, the case for it falls to the ground. Nor is it absolutely essential for this country always to go on doing things that it did 30 years ago or to follow the Continent in every particular.
I should like to explore what the money will be for. The crying need in this country is to support the living arts. If it were going directly to living artists, I would have far more sympathy for 1015 this imposition. We should not even embark on a bigger programme for the galleries and museums until we have examined a little more what is happening in them. I am told that there are several thousands of pictures in the cellars of the Tate Galleries. I am told—I am open to correction—that there is a large mural by Augustus John which has never been unrolled and has been there 30 or 40 years. First, some inventory should be demanded of what we are keeping in our collections before we either put more stuff into them or build larger buildings for them.
It will be said that these things are retained in the cellars of museums and galleries for two purposes, firstly, for scholars. I do not believe that a collection of pictures for scholars is a valid purpose. By all means let those interested in pictures carry on research and so forth, but the deliberate acquiring of pictures, some of which are extremely enjoyable but not of first-rate quality, for the sake of putting them away for scholars is a bogus aim.
§ Mr. Grimond
No, there is no time. I am sorry to disappoint the hon. Gentleman, but our debates are about disagreements, and people must expect others to say annoying things. There is too much research. As Yeats felt in his description in "The Scholars":All shuffle there; all cough in ink;All wear the carpet with their shoes;All think what other people think;All know the man their neighbour knows.The purpose of pictures and works of art is to be seen and enjoyed. If the museums and galleries—I exclude the British Museum—must have more space, I ask that they do not destroy the environment in creating this. We very nearly had a disastrous extension to the Tate. In Chambers Street in Edinburgh one will see the danger in extending museums. There is one good house left in Chambers Street, and I would bet that it is knocked down for the sake of putting up a museum, possibly with among its pieces treasure from Shetland and other exhibits taken from other parts of Scotland—which would have been better housed in their home districts. Museums and galleries have a duty to see 1016 that in extending themselves they do not desecrate their surroundings. They should exercise ingenuity in putting some parts of their collections into smaller houses and in moving them outside the centre of towns.
Why do we have these buildings in town centres? Museums and galleries too could dispose of a good many things, not necessarily to the public but to other collections, to the provinces and they can send them on tour. I do not in the least mind the National Gallery selling a picture to the National Gallery in Scotland. At least it got a very good bargain. We want to build up collections outside these vast storehouses in the middle of towns, which are incredibly difficult to house. The Greeks have not removed everything from Delphi and stuffed it into Athens. What we need is decentralisation in the whole of the museum and gallery psychology.
This is an occasion for protesting very sharply against the snobbery and prestige values which now dominate the art market. I see no reason why the taxpayers should pay another £2 million or so for yet another Venetian painting. I do not mind where the very great picture of Diana and Acteon goes. These are totally bogus values encouraged by some curators. The very people who claim for millions and millions of pounds to be given to collecting the work of dead artists are absolutely oblivious to the destruction of the living environment in Covent Garden, where a disaster is taking place. The Prada buys no more pictures.
We are talking about preventing people from going to museums for the sake of building bigger museums. We ought to consider showing all our national collections on a much bigger scale outside the centres of London and big cities.
I have one or two specific questions. Will Scotland have a separate bill? Whatever may be said about England, in the view of everyone in Scotland and the North of England people will be deterred from visiting galleries if there is a charge. There is no doubt about that. Every expert or ordinary person will say that in the North of England and Scotland charges will have the effect of decreasing the numbers who enjoy such collections as we have.
On the question of school parties, I am delighted that the Minister favours 1017 them. I understand that they will be admitted free. But the point of going in a school party is that children should return afterwards in groups of two or three or by themselves. Furthermore, I am told that in Scotland school parties are discouraged. I not only want them to be encouraged, which should include not only being taken round by the curator, there should be positive encouragement to people outside education but interested in art who should take them round, too. I can think of half a dozen people in Edinburgh who would give added enjoyment to the children if they were persuaded to take them round. I hope that school parties will be encouraged and that children will be encouraged to return on their own afterwards.
Further, if these charges are to be levied, with all the expense, does it mean that they will be levied all over the country? The Minister eventually takes the responsibility for enforcing these charges. On whom will they be enforced? I do not understand what will happen at the British Museum. The season ticket is all very well, but the man who wants to pop out for lunch and return in the afternoon will have to pay twice. Will the prices be enforced all over the country?
What is the position of local authorities? Will there be any flexibility about the matter? In levying a charge which at most will bring in £1 million against what the Minister said the demand is for, £18 to £20 million, we shall be going against the gradual process of making our great collections free. This is an important issue. We are reversing that tradition, partly on the grounds that a contribution should be made, by those who look at these works of art, and partly on the grounds—I suspect that this is the real reason—of Tory philosophy.
But the Government are not asking people to pay directly for the use of the motorways. Why not? This will make no difference to the Exchequer. It will have to have a large administrative set up to collect the money and at the end of the day it will not be worth it.
I ask the Minister to live up to the colour of her dress which at least I approve of, and be a little more liberal to the arts.
§ 4.47 p.m.
§ Mr. Robert Cooke (Bristol, West)
This Motion of censure has the full 1018 weight of the Opposition Front Bench, from the Leader of the Opposition right down to the hon. Member for Smethwick (Mr. Faulds). I do not mean that in any way disrespectfully to the hon. Member for Smethwick, but it has a full backing from the Opposition in a "three-line Whip", to us a parliamentary phrase, requiring Members to attend, no doubt to support their party in the Lobby.
My right hon. Friend has given us a mass of factual information. I do not propose to repeat that, but I should like first to try to set this Motion of censure in its proper perspective, because I believe that the Opposition see it as the culmination of a long campaign to discredit the Government's efforts in the arts in general.
I believe that this campaign has been carefully organised over a long period, both in and out of Parliament. It may be news to hon. Members opposite that accidentally, Mr. Andrew Wright, who has been conducting the Campaign Against Museum Admission Charges in the country, sent a copy of a letter which he addressed
Dear Labour Member of Parliamentto one of my hon. Friends.
§ Mr. Cooke
Yes, but I think not for the hon. Member when he reads the letter. The beginning is merely a preamble, but the second part is significant.Our plan of action has been twofold. Firstly, to secure publicity we are holding an inaugural meeting of Monday, 14th December …It mentions Lady Longford and Roy Strong as being participants, and others who have promised to attend, including Miss Lee, now Baroness Lee, and various others, Lady Llewelyn-Davies, Baroness Serota, and so on.Secondly, we are attempting to secure grass-roots support —this is the significant sentence—…we are attempting to secure grassroots support. We have heard that Lord Eccles believes that there is little opposition to the Government on this issue because he has received only 200 letters of protest…We are urging everyone to write to their M.P. and to Lord Eccles. In furtherance of this, we are contacting every Labour constituency agent. Also, we are organising the circulation of petition forms. (One is enclosed.)We would appreciate your endorsement of the Campaign and your help in any way. We 1019 have real hopes that, with work in the public sector"—I do not know whether that means underground work in the great national institutions, but I leave the House to judge that—combined with strong support from the Labour Party itself, we stand a fighting chance of persuading the Government"—and so on.
That document is to some extent significant since it appears from it that the Labour Party, having taken up a standpoint, felt it necessary somehow to get grass-roots support for it.
§ Mr. Cooke
There is certainly little connection between the aims and objects here and the grass-roots support which is mentioned, as one would assume that grass-roots support meant spontaneous public interest, really live public interest among thousands, indeed millions, of people, if this were such an important subject as the Labour Party would make out.
How many letters did hon. Members receive? I represent a great university city. I have served on the Museum and Art Galleries Committee. I am known publicly to be interested in the subject. I have had about two dozen letters, nearly all from known Socialist supporters in the constituency. Fair enough, but the Labour agent did not seem to have stirred things up very well. On any arithmetic one cares to use, if all the Labour Party agents were hard at work since last December—and, presumably, some Members of Parliament as well—they had a very poor response.
One can picture the scene in the Labour Party office, with people coming in every day to do business of one kind or another. The agent says, "Please sign this". The chap asks what it is all about. He is told, "It bashes the Tory Government". "All right", he says, "I will sign it". As a result, they have collected just over one signature per day per office. That is not very good, and it puts the whole thing in perspective. A great deal of the agitation has been based on a political motive, and there is no real public support for the cause which the Opposition are now putting to the House.
1020 I come now to the question of the alleged confusion in my noble Friend's statement in the other place and elsewhere. The trustees of the Tate have been mentioned many times today. I say only this about them: they are not God, they are not the supreme court, they are not to be held in awe, particularly by the House of Commons. They are the same as any other trustees or committee running an institution.
In the Evening Standard last Thursday, there was a paragraph which said that a deeply disturbing anomaly had come to light in that the legislation which my noble Friend proposed was just enabling legislation and that the' trustees were "aghast" at the prospect. I should like to see a picture of an aghast trustee. I am not sure what sort of image that conjures up. Perhaps it could be the subject of a picture commissioned by some of the trustees.
The next morning, Lord Eccles replied and his words were quoted in the Daily Telegraph. He was quoted on the Friday morning as saying that the Government will require all 18 institutions to charge. Nothing could be more definite than that.
Despite what was said there—they must have known all about it on the Friday—the trustees of the Tate appeared in The Times on the Saturday in a long piece in which they appeared to take no notice of what my noble Friend had said. They would not, they said, introduce the charges unless an unequivocable public statement was made by the Government.
Surely, as a statement had already been made, this was merely stoking things up again—
§ Mr. Cooke
I had better not give way, since there are so many hon. Members wishing to speak.
I believe that the Tate meeting had before it a carefully prepared and detailed statement which was agreed at the meeting. It was all planned beforehand. To judge by the length of it, it must have been preconceived. The matter did not arise spontaneously at the meeting. The chairman of the trustees was asked by The Times whether he regarded Lord Eccles' statement as unequivocal. "No", said the chairman, "wait for Monday's debate". He has now got it. But I 1021 submit that he had that unequivocal statement already.
In its leading article on Saturday, The Times referred to the Opposition's Motion today as "well timed". Well timed in what way? Notice was given at seven o'clock last Wednesday, the last possible day for notice for debate today. There is a three-line Whip on it. That is the Opposition's affair, but, if it were a matter of such enormous importance, one might have expected the Opposition to give the House a little more notice. I believe that they conceived it as just another chance for a quick in-and-out dart at the Government because there is nothing else they can think of at this time.
The Times says that the stage has been set for today's debate by the statement of the Tate trustees. Perhaps it is all part of the same plan. Lord Eccles is abroad at the moment. How very convenient for certain people. The Times says that the trustees are entitled to their view. Of course they are. I heartily echo that. It says also that they cannot escape Government action, and my right hon. Friend has dealt with that.
It was suggested that they could forgo the benefits which will arise as this policy is worked out. But if they did that, they would themselves be depriving the living artists referred to by the hon. Member for Smethwick of the benefits which will accrue from this and other policies. If they did not co-operate with the Government, they would by their own deliberate act deny themselves the benefits of the Government policy. Whether the trustees would continue to levy the handsome charge for special exhibitions which they levy now I know not.
The Times comes back to the matter again today with another piece, perhaps to stoke things up. Also, it promised a profile on page 12 of Lord Eccles. There was no profile on page 12. There was large space devoted to hats at Hurlingham and another large picture of young ladies waving placards about something or other. But no profile of my noble Friend. Inquiries of The Times made by the Library of the House have elicited no answer, save that it was removed at a late hour last night.
Before leaving the question of the Tate trustees—we are doing them proud today, 1022 but there are some other things which should be said, and I am saying all this in good humour, having met several of them—I must point out that they are sophisticated political operators. They got their new site for expansion of their gallery by pretending to be prepared to knock down the portico. I do not for a moment believe that they were serious about that, but it was an extremely astute move because both sides of the House combined to protest. I believe that it was the Prime Minister himself who came to the House and said that another decision had been made, at which we were all delighted. But that was an example of the fairly sophisticated way in which the Tate trustees operate.
The Sunday Times, in my view, did the Tate trustees and their like a gross injustice when it said that Lord Eccles was having a difficult time with them—that may have been true—because they feared that, if the Labour Party returned to power, they would be ousted as a reprisal for too tamely accepting the charges. My advice to the Tate trustees would be, "Do not worry. You are doing a fine job for the Labour Party. You will not be for the chop". I do not believe that there was very much in that paragraph although, undoubtedly, it expressed a view which is held by some.
I come now to the White Paper. It was well received in the Press, not just by the Daily Telegraph. Many newspapers received it well, and the broadcasting media, at least, did it the honour of not being unduly critical. In fact, the behaviour of the broadcasting media has been somewhat strange in all this. There were almost weekly programmes based on the rumours going around about what the Government would or would not do about charges, and I myself received four invitations to appear on both sound and television. I declined those invitations while the rumours were being flung about because I was certain that the Government's actual proposals would be nothing like the rumours.
When the White Paper was published, the broadcasting media decided that there was not sufficient interest in the subject and it would not be covered on that occasion, but they sent me a letter to say that it would be covered when the debate took place. I look forward to an invitation to appear—or, perhaps, some of my 1023 hon. Friends will be asked to appear—to put the Government's case.
I should like to continue with a few observations on the White Paper. I am glad that my right hon. Friend referred to the British Museum Library, which is omitted from the White Paper. Labour hon. Members will claim that it was their Government that got it under way. But if it had not been for my noble Friend's position and the stand he took as chairman of the trustees of the British Museum we should not have had the reversal of the previous Government's declared intent to abandon the site and not to proceed with the scheme. It was due to my noble Friend that we shall see that Library constructed to be the finest in the world.
§ Mr. G. R. Strauss (Vauxhall)
That statement has been made twice today. The reversal of the decision was made by my right hon. Friend the then Secretary of State for Education and Science. He decided that the Library should be built on the Bloomsbury site and that the finances should be provided to build it.
§ Mrs. Thatcher
I remember cross-examining the then Minister and asking him whether the decision was that the Library would be built on this site. The answer I got was that there would be a feasibility study and that it was not definite.
§ Mr. Cooke
I am most grateful for the exchange between the two Front Benches. I leave the House to judge. But the facts of life are that if it were not for the energy of my noble Friend we should not be where we are on the British Museum Library. As the Minister making that decision did not make it of his own volition, pressures were put on him by the right hon. Member for Vauxhall (Mr. Strauss), myself and other hon. Members. I am grateful for the support that we had behind the scenes on this. But the Government were very stoney-hearted about the matter until they were pushed off their perch.
My right hon. Friend has gone through the White Paper at length, but I would re-emphasise the £11 million of new commitment in it for housing the arts. It 1024 represents a 50 per cent. increase in the capital programme, and finances the promises made by Baroness Lee when she was the Minister for the arts in this House. The finance for many of her policies was not committed.
The right hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Grimond) referred to the position of the school parties. The galleries do not wish to discourage the organised school parties, but they do not have the facilities to receive them. It is all part of the policy arising from the White Paper that a greatly improved facility for the schools will be possible. If we had greater and greater numbers of schools now bringing parties, they would hardly see a thing or benefit by their visit. We have only to go to the British Museum when scores of children are there to see how difficult it is for them or anyone else to see the exhibits.
I have referred to Miss Lee, as she then was. There is no doubt that she made promises, but no provision was made to finance them. The Arts Council massively over-committed itself, and the moment of truth arrived when the Auditor-General produced his report. All it could say was that it had a moral commitment to produce funds, but no legal obligation, so it felt that it had not transgressed. My noble Friend came to the rescue and insisted that the present Government produced the money to honour these promises. That leaves him little room to manœuvre. He is in a sense a captive of the commitment by his predecessor. Lord Goodman and his officials have been sweating it out before a critical Select Committee of the House upstairs, while Miss Lee has vanished to greener pastures. Hon. Members opposite must bear the responsibility.
In the 1965 White Paper some brave hopes were expressed. It said:It is to be hoped that one day fine permanent buildings for housing the arts will be universally available. But in the meantime enterprising localities might well investigate the possibility of mobile art centres and travelling theatres.… Temporary inflatable structures are already in use in industry. All that is needed is to find models that can be given the gay 'Come to the Fair' atmosphere essential for recreational purposes.Considerable fun was made of that at the time, but the message there is that there were brave hopes, and nothing very substantial, and that is what we found.
1025 I come again to the charges, because it is out of the charges that much of the new work will arise. We have been given some statistics. There are many charges that exist, and did exist for long years before the recent war and before the previous war at the great institutions, when money was money. Now we have the doubled charge at the Tower of London, and greatly increased numbers, and only recently the charge was doubled at the Wellington Museum, which is part of one of our great London institutions. To make for a better display and to cater for the greatly increased number of visitors, it is absolutely essential that we have the financial resources.
In passing, we might comment on the Hayward Gallery across the river, which is well known to many hon. Members on both sides, and which has always made a charge. About half the costs of running it are recovered in that way, and yet young and old people are queuing to go in and to pay a charge far in excess of anything my right hon. Friend has proposed.
I am surprised that the Museums Association has not been called in aid this afternoon. Some hon. Members have suggested that the association as a whole is implacably opposed to charges. I ask them to study what has already been said at a previous conference of the association and to see what happens when my noble Friend addresses the conference later this summer. A frank and fair discussion at that conference—the hon. Member for Smethwick laughs—
§ Mr. Cooke
I am sure that my noble Friend will be able to cope with that conference. Out of it a good deal of useful discussion will no doubt come, and perhaps the air will be cleared. My information was that before the General Election, before there was quite so much passion about the matter, about half the people who attended the conferences were quite agreeable to some form of charges.
Some hon. Members want free days. Free days have not worked well. I believe that the Kenwood experiment was silly, because it coerced people to go in their droves on days which otherwise would not have been so crowded. The free day is not a starter. The differential 1026 nature of the charges proposed will, of course, help with crowd control in summer. In the British Museum at times it is quite impossible to see any of the exhibits.
We should try to involve many more people in the arts and the way in which they are supported. The regional arts associations are being built up by my noble Friend. I am depressed to find what a pitiful private response there has been to assisting them up until now. With very few exceptions, there has been practically no private response. What is required is a very modest tax inducement, involving many hundreds of thousands, indeed, millions of people.
§ Mr. Hugh Jenkins
On a point of order. The hon. Gentleman is taking the debate extremely wide of museum charges. He is going over the whole range of Government support for the arts. As a number of hon. Members on both sides of the House want to speak, Mr. Deputy Speaker, you may agree that he has perhaps been taking up a little too much time on subjects not directly relevant to the Motion.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker (Miss Harvie Anderson)
Order. I think that the hon. Gentleman knows that that is not a point of order. At the same time, I think that the hon. Member for Bristol, West (Mr. Robert Cooke) must be well aware of the shortness of this debate, the number of hon. Members wanting to speak and the length of time he has already taken.
§ Mr. Cooke
I do not wish to detain the House but I have given way three times, and this is the first time I have spoken in the present Parliament. I shall try to bring my remarks to a conclusion fairly speedily.
I was speaking about tax inducements for people to contribute towards the arts, a matter which is bound up with the question of revenues and charges. We should allow taxpayers—with both large and small incomes—to deduct from the top of their income before tax a very modest amount of money to be given to a registered charity. That would mean that the arts in all forms could benefit. It would particularly help the museums and galleries we are talking about this afternoon. It would enable the institutions to build up 1027 their resources in a way which would help them both with the purchase of new exhibits and with the conservation of those that they already have. It would also mean that a free market in works of art could still continue without the restrictions which some people want.
The right hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland said that museums as we have them are in many cases out of date. I echo that. Many of the great works of art would look far better, and be better enjoyed by those who want to see them, if they were returned to the places from which they originated. In this respect, the National Trust is doing fine work and so are the trustees for the time being of our other great historical buildings. Perhaps we should think carefully before we put more and more of our national treasures into repositories which are bulging at the doors and return some of them to where they can perhaps be enjoyed in an atmosphere of greater tranquillity.
The provincial museums are not directly implicated in the charges as national museums but they need help, too. Some of those who cry out loudest about the lamentable state of their collections are least able to get the proper support which they should get from their local authority. I am not surprised that Birmingham says that its collections are falling to pieces and that its buildings cannot possibly house them. Birmingham spends £310 per thousand head of the population a year, but it is not as much as York, which spends £900, and Liverpool, which spends £800. It is the local fault and not the fault of the Government that such a state of affairs exists. However, this is delicate ground and I do not want to go further into it.
Those who are interested in the arts are a minority, although a growing minority. I hope that what we can do in this House will increase their number and that somehow although there are so many divisions between us for political reasons we might manage to collaborate and achieve even greater success. We cannot do it if we are eternally divided. I believe that the row over this matter will be just a footnote to a footnote in the history books and that it is the solid work of my noble Friend that will be remembered, just as he will be remem 1028 bered as the first Arts Minister of real standing and the man who gave the arts a firm foundation.
§ 5.12 p.m.
§ Mr. Maurice Edelman (Coventry, North)
The hon. Member for Bristol, West (Mr. Robert Cooke), in a long speech which I will not seek to imitate, has expressed the bogus and deplorable elitism which is really the theme of the debate. The right hon. Lady, who was one of the spakesmen of the Tory slogan on the quality of life, has, by her frigid and computer-like speech today, done much to discredit the Tory theme expressed during the General Election. What the Government have done is to revive the tax on learning which was fought against during the nineteenth century by every liberal movement in the country, and it is certain that the whole attitude of the Government is based on the assumption that culture is too good for people who cannot afford it.
The hon. Gentleman spoke about the mysterious profile of the Paymaster-General which was dropped from The Times yesterday. I am glad that my hon. Friend the Member for Smethwick (Mr. Faulds), in his very warm speech, did something to replace the omitted profile. It is a pity that the Paymaster-General is absent in Venezuela representing the Government on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Carabobo. I assume that he is there because of his collection of books on Venezuela. Indeed, contrary to what was said by my hon. Friend, I endorse and value the fact that the Paymaster-General should himself have been a collector.
But I remind the House that the great slogan that the Paymaster-General propounded when he was President of the Board of Trade—he applied it to he workers—was, "Treat 'em mean, keep' em keen". His proposal for penalising the great mass of people who want to visit our national museums is a profound illustration of that slogan. It is certain that beneath that amiable exterior there is the authentic Tory—the one who, when he hears the word "culture", reaches for his slide-rule.
The Paymaster-General now asks for £1 million and proposes to obtain it by mulcting the visitors to the museums. We all must agree that the museums are in need of reinforcement. At a time of 1029 inflation, it is desirable that they should have as much resources as possible. But if one wants to see why our art galleries and museums are diminished in strength, one has only to pay a morning visit to Sotheby's or Christie's, where one sees the stock exchange of art going on and where inflated prices make it almost impossible for museums to replenish their collections.
A museum which does not enlarge itself and develop is in danger of itself becoming a fossilised piece, an object only fit to be treated as a museum piece and one incapable of development. The reason for this extraordinary market place of art going on is the fact that art is one of the best hedges against inflation. The best blue chip is the purchase of a work of art. In a society whose quality we had hoped to improve, we see people buying works of art which, because of the penal cost of insuring them, they put into the vaults of banks. That is not a fantasy but a reality. One need only ask any bank manager what has happened to some of the works of art which have been bought at Sotheby's and Christie's and he will reply that they are in his vaults.
Therefore, the question for the galleries and museums is how they can replenish their resources. The right hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Grimond) made the valuable suggestion that those works of art at present consigned to the cellars of national institutions should be brought out and that museums and art galleries should be given by law the opportunity of selling those works which are superfluous to their requirements or which do not fit into the general framework of what the museum represents.
I believe that the Government should encourage private patrons. They could do so by tax remissions, as in the case of the United States, for those who lend or give works of art to museums, provided that adequate care is taken so that we do not have the kind of large-scale fraud which exists in the United States and which has become notorious. But the fact that there can be fraud does not mean that it should not be possible to provide tax remissions to encourage people to make contributions and donations to our museums and galleries. Another way would be to extend the range of the works of art acceptable for 1030 death duty purposes. While today it is possible for selected works of art to be taken in part lieu of death duties, the range of works acceptable should be considerably widened. In that way there would not only be an enrichment of the galleries but it should be possible, without too much difficulty, so to strengthen the resources of the galleries that the "Eccles million" might easily be provided in the form of those donations.
What I would recommend to the Government is that a special arts fund be set up, empowered to enter the art market, to sell off works of art superfluous to requirements and also to make purchases using money from this fund, through the trustees, to balance collections.
It has appeared that hon. Members opposite think that museums and art galleries provide some sort of commercial service and therefore should be treated on a commercial basis. There is a kind of cash nexus between the visitor and the art gallery or museum. The fact is that museums and art galleries are not places of commerce, they are places of worship, to which people should have right of access for spiritual purposes.
We have only to study the other Eccles, the Eccles who wrote that admirable autobiography, in which he spoke about the quality of life, to see that he insists that the function of art is to supply that spiritual refreshment, so different from the kind of commercial service which hon. Members opposite have in mind.
I must make a brief comment about the old age pensioners and supplementary benefit pensioners. The most divisive thing which any Government can do is to categorise people and to say that one class of person shall be admitted on production of a card and that another class of person shall be admitted because they are students. In a sense we are all students. Everyone who goes to an art gallery or a museum goes to enlarge his own education and it is a completely artificial, dogmatic and doctrinaire division and stratification of people to classify them as students, old age pensioners, and so on. This is the most damaging thing that a Government can do.
It is true that there are some old people who have spent a lifetime interested in the arts and who wish to continue this interest, to enjoy the benefits which museums and art galleries can 1031 offer. When they go they like to go with their families. They are often limited physically. Whatever the right hon. Lady may say, the fact is that old people will certainly be discouraged from visiting galleries and museums. What the Government are introducing is a bureaucratic differential.
I do not believe that charges will increase the number of people who go to galleries. It may increase the number of people drawn from a certain class, but it will certainly discourage the great mass of people who go today because they feel able to go, without paying and without diminishing their family budget. I say to the right hon. Lady "Beware of this proposal. It might result in nice, tidy, clean museums and galleries; equally it might have the effect of creating empty, or relatively empty museums and galleries." The right hon. Lady spoke of the situation before the war. I remember what happened then. It is true that the National Gallery was closed for two days so that copyists could have the chance to work there. The payment was put on as a bar, aimed at excluding as many people as possible from entering. That is exactly what happened. The number of visitors fell by 75 per cent.
§ 5.24 p.m.
§ Mr. Jeffrey Archer (Louth)
May I begin by congratulating the hon. Member for Smethwick (Mr. Faulds) on his maiden speech from the Front Bench and say how much I enjoyed him on television last night in the film "The One that got Away." I must confess that I found the script on that occasion considerably better than his script today.
I am very disappointed with this White Paper. Almost its only virtue is that it is a small White Paper. I begin where the hon. Member for Coventry, North (Mr. Edelman) left off—on the works of art side. I endorse, and will not repeat, practically everything that he said. I should like to see a severe penalty imposed on those who seek to take works of art abroad and, at the same time, help given to those who try to keep them in this country. The balance between these two forces would lead to better works of art being kept in this country.
1032 Because the hon. Member said almost everything that I wanted to say, I will turn directly to gallery charges. I first thank the Under-Secretary for the tolerance he has shown during my continuous bombardment over this question of charges for old age pensioners and the young. I made it clear to him some considerable time ago that if this matter came to the Floor of the House I would have to abstain from voting. I cannot, under any circumstances, agree to charge the young and the old for admission to museums and art galleries. I do not pretend that I found this easy, because my hon. Friend has done everything in his power to allay my fears, particularly with his announcement about lowering the charge from 10p to 5p.
The only comment I have is that this is a moral question and it does not matter whether the charge is lowered from 50p to 25p, 20p to 10p. Wherever the level is it is still there and the moral argument must remain. I hope that it is still possible for Lord Eccles to remove this charge.
Having heard over the weekend the argument about the supplementary benefit book I thought this was a bad idea because I realised that the Opposition would say that this was a means test to museums. I accept that. For that reason I say that this is yet another reason why I should like to see the total abolition of charge for the old and the young. Let us have the old and the young able to go to our art galleries and museums without any charge, without having to prove that they fall into funny little categories, whatever the books may look like.
When we discussed this subject I said to my right hon. and noble Friend Lord Eccles, and I do not think this is betraying a confidence, that I was desperately keen to see this charge removed and would abstain. He said that I was being sentimental. The Under-Secretary will remember those words. I would remind him of the words of the leader of our party, the Prime Minister, when the President of France said that my right hon. Friend was being sentimental about the New Zealand lamb issue. The Prime Minister asked, "What is wrong with sentimentality?" I endorse that feeling. I am sentimental about the old and the young.
1033 If, when the Under-Secretary comes to the Dispatch Box, his argument is that I am sentimental and have not understood the figures, then it is an argument that I will take because to me it makes no difference. Sometimes it is not a bad thing for the heart to rule the head.
The hon. Member for Smethwick was a little unkind to my right hon. and noble Friend. Much of what he said was amusing and perhaps fair according to his beliefs, but it would be grossly unfair to pretend that my right hon. and noble Friend does not have a very sincere and deep knowledge of the world of art, far beyond that of a collector interested only in financial gain. He is a man of immense knowledge and we are lucky to have a man of his stature holding this position.
The other question which I should like to put to the Under-Secretary is what happens to those of us, the hon. Member for Smethwick and myself among others, who are Friends of the Tate? Do we still have to pay to enter our gallery? I go to one of these places every other Sunday. Will we now have to pay in addition to our annual fee? Many of the national institutions and art galleries will find that people will be reluctant to pay two guineas or one guinea a year for membership when they also have to pay normal admission fees. They will say that the Government are getting it with one hand and ask why they should give it privately. The very attitude which makes people give something because they believe sincerely in it will disappear overnight. Automatically and rightly, people wonder why they should give to a gallery if they have to pay to go into it. It is a natural attitude of mind, and I hope that my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State will deal with it.
We spent a considerable time during the last election telling people that we were the civilised party and that we, rather than the Labour Party, cared about the old and young people. We spent a considerable time describing ourselves as the party which would get things correct financially. But we also said that we would be seen to be fair. Some Parliamentary reputations are gained in a short time and some in a long time, but they are almost always correctly gained. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State and my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary 1034 of State, whatever their failings may be, are known to be fair. I do not think that anyone in the House would disagree with that. Yet they have proposed something which is eminently unfair, particularly as we said during the last election that, when we had sorted out the nation's financial problems, we would not forget people in need and people who should be treated differently.
I hope that my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State will bear in mind that it is important not only to get the nation's finances in order but to remember that in the world of theatre, art and music we are unrivalled. This is something of which we can be immensely proud. But perhaps even more important than being unrivalled in putting on the best productions and best music concerts and running the best galleries is the need that we are seen by the rest of the world to be a nation which treats its people in a civilised way. That is what we are biting into today.
The decision has been made by my right hon. and noble Friend, Lord Eccles. Because I genuinely believe that the petty charges proposed in this tiny White Paper will not help the nation, I shall abstain from voting tonight.
§ 5.33 p.m.
§ Mr. Norman Buchan (Refrew, West)
We have listened with deep interest and emotion to the hon. Member for Louth (Mr. Jeffrey Archer). In a sense, he has helped to save the soul of the Tory Party on what must be one of its blackest days—not because of the size of what is proposed, but because of its meanness, pettiness and philistinism. We are not even sure whether the £1 million to be raised in charges will be enough to pay for cleaning the windows of the museums and galleries. The White Paper cannot add to the resources of the museums and galleries. It is a White Paper which expresses the ideology of the Tory Party. That is what the Financial Times said, and I have no reason to disagree with it in its analysis of the soul of the Conservative Party. This is a sad day.
The whole basis of the Conservative Party was that it represented the accretion of the past values of this country and claimed to hold the line against the barbarians. Right hon. and hon. Members opposite have become the modern barbarians. I became a Member of the 1035 House in 1964, and already I have seen a change in the values and attitudes of the Conservative Party.
One of the few cheers which we have heard today was heard when my hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, North (Mr. Edelman) advanced proposals for tax-saving in return for the loan of private paintings or their acquisition. The Conservative Party has even brought art down to cash.
I draw the Government's attention to a poem written by Paul Jennings called "Lines Written in Despondency in Trafalgar Square". It ended:O God, a dreadful army comesOf foppish hardhats, po-faced bowlered bumsWhose mealy minds, whose souls of dust and ashChafe for the chance of turning art to cash.That is what the Conservative Party is doing.
Secondly, sadly and pettily, the Government are dividing the nation. I have heard few things more obscene than the right hon. Lady the Secretary of State today demonstrating the difficulty of differentiating from pensioner to pensioner. The only thing which was lacking was the suggestion of a stamp with a number on the back of the wrist saying, "I am an old age pensioner". The right hon. Lady's performance frankly was disgusting.
The hon. Member for Bristol, West (Mr. Robert Cooke) criticised us on this side of the House for being political about this matter. But right hon. and hon. Members opposite fail to understand either the people of this country or our response to proposals like this. It goes very deep with us when we see such proposals and values interpreted in cash terms. Will the right hon. Lady consider what her exhibition, advocating separation and divisiveness, means to some of us?
§ Mrs. Thatcher
I was referring to the difficulty of making admission free for people on supplementary benefit. The hon. Gentleman is making my point.
§ Mr. Buchan
That is precisely what I mean. The Government have not an atom of understanding of the point. Her reason for rejecting the suggestion was the slide-rule analysis and the impossibility of implementing it. That is what Paul Jennings meant when he referred to 1036… mealy minds, whose souls of dust and ashChafe for the chance of turning art to cash.That is precisely what the right hon. Lady and the Conservative Party are doing. [An HON. MEMBER: "Political grocers."] Absolutely.
I appeal to the Government to note what the hon. Member for Louth said. He has shown greater understanding of the matter than Lord Eccles has shown in the past year. The proposal to impose charges should be scrapped. I do not believe it will raise the money it has been said it will raise.
My second country is Italy. I have here figures for the charges made in the Uffizi Gallery. I never liked the proposal to make charges, and I hope that sooner or later it will be dropped. But there is an excuse for it. Italy has such a mass of art to preserve from Roman times onwards that the cost of preserving it would be huge if charges were not imposed.
In 1969, the two main galleries in Florence had 1,136,000 vsitors and their income was £82,000. That is probably more than the National Gallery will achieve. This shows that the Government are putting a cash price on our art for very little return.
Thirdly, the Government fail to understand how matters work. It is no use saying that it will be cheaper for children to go to the galleries. It is no use saying that admission will be free for educational parties. It is not the prepared visit to a museum which matters. This may be the trigger-off point. None of us knows how children are triggered off into this interest. I see them scampering into the Kelvingrove Museum, very close to my own home in Glasgow. One sees them rush to the engineering section to press the buttons. What would happen if this were a national gallery? Thank goodness it is not. It is a local authority museum in Glasgow, and, thank goodness, it is a Labour local authority.
This kind of thing will stop now in the premises of our museum in Chambers Street. There will be no more scampering of the children who go to press buttons. There will no longer be the spontaneous and natural expression and arousing of interest of a child or stimulation of a child's curiosity. Then there is the Edinburgh Museum of Modern Art 1037 set in a marvellous setting in the Botanical Gardens. People go not only to enjoy the gardens; they then drop into the museum. This charge will be a barrier against them—against the snotty nosed Edinburgh kid who can go in because it is free. It is one thing for children thus to drop in, but if a child has to say, "I want to go to the gallery" and asks for money for that, then it becomes a formal, prepared visit, not a dropping in. During the summer months there are family Sunday afternoon outings which take place there, but will they if charges are imposed? Of course not. Then it becomes an expensive business. A husband going with his wife and two children will have to pay 12 shillings. It becomes a major item, a major outing, not an accidental dropping in.
The right hon. Lady makes a merit of that, as an excuse for her White Paper, that now there will be educational parties. It may be that we have not used our museums sufficiently imaginatively but this charge on everyone will not solve that, nor yet will it raise necessary revenues. Even if there are to be the educational visits, that does not give merit to putting a charge on everyone else.
The right hon. Lady's argument is an ideological argument and it will deprive children of the natural educational value of dropping in as they do to our galleries and museums. It will deprive the children of having their imaginations naturally aroused, and of their natural introduction to the arts accidentally. The right hon. Lady's argument is a divisive argument.
Of course people who are interested in the arts and consciously go out to see collections will continue to do that, but this proposal will be taking away that accidental stimulation which is and always has been a quality of our life far back into the past. It was the work created by the stonemasons who created Michaelangelo. Culture is for everyone. The significance of this ought to be understood. It was the same stimulus which built our churches and cathedrals in the late Middle Ages—not only in this country but in Italy and elsewhere abroad. These works are for everyone, but as soon as we have the concept of payment in this way, as soon as people have consciously to differentiate between 1038 the accidental dropping in and the formal, prepared visit—as I say, a husband and his wife and two children having to pay twelve shillings—as soon as they have to think things out in this way, we put back the clock, we move back to philistinism.
This proposal is mean. It is petty. It is squalid. It is philistine. In the name of God, drop it.
§ 5.43 p.m.
§ Mr. James Allason (Hemel Hempstead)
There are about 950 galleries and museums in this country, most of which charge, and we are today discussing 18 galleries and museums on which charges are to be imposed, and yet we hear these impassioned pleas about how terrible it is to charge people entering museums. I must say that I am astonished that all this outcry comes from a party which for the last six years was charging for entry to the Tower of London. Yet hon. Members opposite say this afternoon, "How is it possible to charge for entry into historic buildings, to see stonework, to see the monuments of the centuries? How can people be charged for that?"
As we have heard, charges were made for visits to many of the national galleries we are discussing now. There were charges up to 1939. The reason those charges were abolished was the war, because the collections were put away and were not to be seen. For some time after the war the collections shown were not up to the standard they had been. So the charges were dropped. It seems extraordinary that the hon. Member for Smethwick (Mr. Faulds) and the trustees of the Tate Gallery seem to have forgotten that there was not always this national tradition of free entry into our galleries.
We hear this sad story of children, who have been running around entering museums free, who will not now be able to go to them because of the heavy cost of the charges to enter them. If there is all that anxiety felt by a child or his parents he can have a season ticket for 50p. Is there any child in the country who does not at some time of the year get presents amounting to 50p? There are many grandparents, I am sure, who would think it a very good Christmas present to give to their grandchild—a season ticket to a museum.
§ Mr. Buchan
I am very glad the hon. Gentleman has made that point. It is a fair one. It will be the good grandfathers and the good families who will do that, who are already doing that sort of thing, who will give that kind of present—not those of the little snotty face of whom I was speaking. That is the problem.
§ Mr. Allason
I want to press on, as I know many other people wish to speak.
As to the expenditure of the galleries, there are a great many items which are absolutely essential—upkeep, staffing, security; there are many matters to be considered. At the bottom of the list of items comes the question, "What else can we do with the money? Can we make new acquisitions?" Last of all comes conservation of the existing collections, and that, I am afraid, is in many galleries absolutely the last, and very little is spent.
Then there is the problem of the conservators. There is a great shortage of them already. A great many people would love to be trained as conservators, but the training is rather inadequate and a great deal more could be done in that way. In the matter of picture restoring the tendency of most of our national galleries is to rely upon the trade and there is very little apprenticeship within the galleries. I do not believe that the trade is the best place for this. Not always are the very highest standards required in the trade, which has to deal with the treatment of family pictures as distinct from works of art or the very highest standard, but ability to deal with those is needed in some of our galleries and museums.
Turning to the collections themselves, over the country as a whole some 40 per cent. to 60 per cent. of the collections are not shown at all. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Grimond) mentioned this. He said he saw no merit in a reserve collection, and I agree with him there. It is very wasteful to have a large amount of duplication, a large amount of material which a gallery has no intention of ever showing. It is wasteful in storage costs, and it is wasteful in the sense that it means gaps which might be filled in other collections. It is a great disservice to the nation for a gallery to hoard goods it does not want.
1040 It has been suggested that galleries could dispose of surplus items by way of exchange and mart, but I do not think that is the best solution. It is better to make use of the sale room. Local authorities already have power to sell items in their collection, but it is very little used for fear of criticism. For instance, when the Dulwich Gallery recently sold the Domenichino abuse was poured on the trustees for daring to part with an item in their collection.
I see no harm in a picture from a public collection going to a private collector in this country. Many private collectors open their collections to the public and, so long as the picture stays in the country, it will eventually be available to the public. We cannot expect every collector's item to remain in this country for ever. If it is not required here, I see no objection to it being sold overseas and earning useful currency, remembering that such sales will bring extra help for the conservation of pictures and the management of galleries.
My right hon. Friend the Paymaster-General has achieved a great programme for the arts, to which the public will be prepared to make their small contribution. I think it was a surprise to hon. Gentlemen opposite and the public that the charges are so moderate, and I wish that the charges made in Italy, France and Spain were equally moderate. I believe that it is necessary and good to make admission charges to museums and galleries, and I utterly reject the Motion.
§ 5.52 p.m.
§ Mrs. Renée Short (Wolverhampton, North-East)
The hon. Member for Hemel Hempstead (Mr. Allason) has shown the uncaring attitude of the Conservative Party about support for the arts. I reject his rather sneering remarks about young people and pensioners visiting picture galleries, and do not accept his comparison between visiting an art gallery and the Tower of London. I wish that the attitude he has taken had not been expressed in the House, although I suppose he has taken a lead from his Minister. No cogent arguments have been put forward why we should aim at this miserable sum of £1 million, and we have not been told what will happen if the £1 million is not achieved.
1041 The Minister said that charges had been imposed before. We know that they are not new but, as several of my hon. Friends have pointed out, when charges were previously introduced at galleries and museums, attendance fell. I can only assume that the Government want to keep people out of museums and art galleries.
The Minister said that we have to pay to go to the theatre, to ballet and to the opera and we should therefore be willing to pay to go to museums and galleries; but that comparison is neither fair nor accurate. The cost of producing opera and ballet, which are an enormous tourist attraction, is recurring and ever-increasing; whereas the cost of looking after museums and galleries remains fairly static, apart from improvements and the building of new galleries. We are spending £11 million on galleries and museums, and it is not worth all the complication, difficulty and frustration involved merely to get back £1 million. This is an illustration of the Tory Party's philosophy of making people pay for everything. The Tory Party cannot bear people to get something which they have not paid for at the time of use. There is no mandate for this proposal in the Tory Party's election manifesto.
I hope that the hon. Member for Louth (Mr. Jeffrey Archer) will go further than abstaining and will vote with us. He clearly feels deeply about this matter, and I agree with much of what he has said, but he is wrong in saying that the Tory Party treats people fairly. We have seen many examples of how unfairly the Government treat certain sections of the community. I need only to mention the abolition of free school milk; no one can say that is fair.
There is a great deal of unfairness and injustice in the way we treat artists and people working in the arts. I am thinking particularly of the theatre and music, as this is where my main interest lies. If the right hon. Lady would tell the House that she has managed to get more money to help the living theatre and young singers and musicians, we should all applaud.
§ Mr. Jeffrey Archer
I have already mentioned many of these points to my right hon. Friend. One cannot always make one's speeches in the House so that everyone can hear them.
§ Mrs. Short
I am delighted to hear that the hon. Gentleman is keeping up the back-stairs pressure, and I hope that he will continue to do so with more success than he has so far achieved.
Will the Parliamentary Secretary give the House information about the legality of admission charges to galleries? A large number of bequests have been made to galleries and museums on the understanding that the public should be able to see them without charge. Mr. Turner made three wills containing several codicils. In each will he stipulated that the pictures which he was generously giving to the nation should be shown gratuitously to the public and many other artists have since given pictures to the nation on this understanding. The Government may not be entitled to make admission charges to see works of art which have been given to the nation on the understanding that the public should be able to see them free of charge.
We know what the proposals are from the White Paper. The suggestion that old people should pay 5p is pettifogging and mean, and I hope that the Minister will look at this again if she insists on going through with the proposal. I should prefer her to withdraw the whole mean proposal which will create complications in collecting the money and is just not worth the parliamentary time which is being used.
The practice of charging for admission is very mean to pensioners and it is quite disgusting that parents should have to pay for children. Many people have had their appetites whetted by being taken to art galleries by parents or relatives, or in school parties, and they want to go again. These charges will mean that they will not be able to go again. It means that young people and young married couples will not be able to go again unless they pay, and many are in no position to pay. When we talk about a charge of 20p a head, it must be remembered that for two people the cost will be 40p, which is not a negligible amount but is a large amount of money for people to find regularly.
If tourists come down to London from Scotland, from the North of England or Wales to spend some of their holiday 1043 here, it will mean that they will have to pay twice as much as Londoners pay to have access to galleries all the year round. Where is the fairness there? It is illogical and I think that people will be kept away. When one visits art galleries in Paris, Rome, Milan or Florence the people one mostly sees are Americans and Germans with lots of money, and one sees few French people or Italians in their own galleries. Will this be the sort of thing that will happen here? Will our own people be pushed out, priced out, of our galleries when, for example in the summer, when they are on holiday, they may well like to visit a gallery more often. We must also remember that people in their lunch hours may want to pop into a gallery for a quarter of an hour or so to look at only two or three pictures. A person who visits a gallery does not want to spend hours in it at a time because he becomes exhausted. It is much better to pay a short visit to a gallery and to see what one wants to see. Some people visit galleries several times a week and many young people have a passion for visiting galleries. How are they to do this if they have to pay 20p a time?
§ Mr. Allason
Perhaps the hon. Lady did not hear it said that the season ticket for a year was 50p for a child and a £1 for an adult.
§ Mrs. Short
That is all very well, but one must remember the careful families who want to make provision for visits for their children. Furthermore, there are not many pensioners who can find a £1 for a season ticket. The hon. Gentleman must be far removed from the pensioners in his constituency and the sort of troubles they are having at present, with rising prices and so on. They live from week to week and are lucky to reach the end of the week when their pension is due. They certainly will not be in a position to find £1.
When the Prime Minister wrote to the trustees of the Tate Gallery, after they expressed their doubts about the proposal to introduce charges, the right hon. Gentleman put forward the rather curious idea, which is Tory Party philosophy, that a charge would make the public more rather than less appreciative of the artistic and historic value of the contents 1044 of a collection. Does this mean that when the Prime Minister looks at the Rokeby Venus, or at a Titian or a Rubens, he appreciates it less because he does not have to pay for it? Would he get more sensual pleasure out of it, more intellectual uplift, if he paid a fee for doing so? This is indeed a curious philosophy to put forward. When people go into an art gallery and look at a Cezanne, or a beautiful picture of any kind or a piece of sculpture, it is not in their minds that they are enjoying it more because they have had to pay for it.
Why stop at art galleries? Why not charge a fee to go into a local authority park since that is provided out of public money? If local authorities, particularly the Tory-controlled ones, now decide to charge people to enter their local authority museums and galleries, then they may well decide to impose a charge for their parks. It might even be said that we shall charge people to bathe in the sea, as happens in some Common Market countries. We all know that one has to pay to bathe in the sea in Italy.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker (Miss Harvie Anderson)
Order. I hope that the hon. Lady will stick to the terms of the Motion, and will recall the limited time available for debate on this subject.
§ Mrs. Short
I certainly will. I am only putting forward ideas which the Government might well take up in order to raise more money. This is the thin end of the wedge, and additional charges will be made. Presumably, these proposals making it possible to raise money will mean additional staff to collect the money. It may be that some galleries will have to install turnstiles at some additional cost, or may do other things which will reduce the amount of money that is likely to be collected. If the Secretary of State feels that money for the arts generally, and for galleries and museums in particular, needs to be raised in some way by making charges, let this be done on a voluntary basis. Many art galleries abroad provide for people to make a voluntary contribution and do not charge people to go in beforehand. I believe that in New York a large amount of money is raised in this way by voluntary contribution.
§ 6.6 p.m.
§ Sir Richard Thompson (Croydon, South)
What a pity it is that on the rare occasions we discuss museums and galleries we should be restricted to half a day, and also that we should be restricted by the terms of the Motion to debating only one aspect of the matter. It would be better if we could put all the arguments for and against these charges quickly, and then talk about something more important. Nevertheless, that is the framework of this debate and I shall keep my remarks brief.
Of all the things said in this debate, I welcome very much the assurance given by my right hon. Friend that the Government take full responsibility for imposing charges. This clears the air completely because there has been considerable misgiving and doubt as to the true position.
§ Sir R. Thompson
Call it what you will, but we now know that the Government intend to take full responsibility in this respect. This is welcome from the point of view of the trustees. If any legislation goes through, it puts them in the position of saying, "These are the orders." It does not leave them with the difficult and perhaps odious situation of having to decide for themselves.
§ Mr. Hugh Jenkins
One ought to correct what the hon. Gentleman is saying because it might go out that the consequences of this debate will be that the trustees will be free to charge. This is not the case. The trustees are not free to charge and they cannot be free to do so until legislation it put through this House which has the effect of compelling them to do so.
§ Sir R. Thompson
I think that was a somewhat spurious intervention, since all I was saying was that the responsibility for imposing charges was now being shouldered firmly by the Government and it was not up to the trustees. My right hon. Friend was saying, as I understood it, that the Government would take on this responsibility and I believe that is what she meant. If I am wrong, I have no doubt that she will intervene to correct me.
I speak not for the trustees of the British Museum, of whom I have been 1046 one for some 20 years, or as chairman of the British Museum Society, but purely as a private individual. Naturally, if I had the choice, I would rather not pay to go into a museum or a gallery. On the other hand, since museums and galleries—and I am thinking at the moment particularly of the British Museum—depend almost wholly on public funds for their maintenance, the enlargement of their collections and the like, whether those public funds are provided wholly out of taxation, which is what the Labour Party would like, or partially by charging, can be a matter for almost endless debate.
A vital injection of cash into our museums was badly needed. Speaking with long experience of the requirements of the British Museum, I know that, if the £11 million programme had not been produced, representing a 50 per cent. increase over the expenditure sanctioned previously, we in the British Museum would have been in a parlous situation.
At the time that the last Government, in a very misguided decision, fortunately reversed later under strong pressure from outside, proposed to separate us from our library, we were weighing the consequences of what would happen as a result, and we set in train a survey of our property at the Bloomsbury site. We wanted to satisfy ourselves that we were doing everything possible to improve the museum where it then stood. As a result of that, we have the present plan to build additional accommodation on to the museum. If it had not been for the injection of more capital into our funds, the trustees would have had to appeal to the public for funds in order to try to raise the money. Indeed, they had a plan to do something like that. Fortunately, we have been rescued from that situation by this further injection of public money by the Government.
As one who has seen for years the bad effect on the museum of continually being starved of sufficient funds to make the most of present collections, let alone expand and enlarge them, I am only thankful that the package, although it contains the elements of charging the public, has alongside it the provision of more funds than originally we thought that we would get.
I do not know how the horse-trading and bargaining goes on between the 1047 Treasury and the Department looking after the arts. My guess is that, to get what was needed for the arts, my right hon. and noble Friend the Paymaster-General had to make some sort of concession on the charging side. However, what is important is that we should have the resources with which to carry on the museum, to do what we want to do for it and to improve the conditions of those who work there.
I do not know whether hon. Members have looked at that part of the White Paper which describes what the British Museum will get out of these additional funds. We are to have an amenities block. For years, one of our great shortages at the museum has been that, when we have wanted to stage periodical ad hoc exhibitions, we have had nowhere in which to mount them, other than by one of the keepers sacrificing part of his space and putting his ordinary exhibits aside in order to accommodate a special exhibition. The museum is now being provided with a facility that it has needed for years.
The museum needs better restaurant accommodation, not only for staff but for visitors. The present provision is disgraceful. That again will be provided.
The museum desperately needs more office space. There can be no national institution which is administered so economically as the museum in terms of the space that it provides for the people actually running the show. The Museum has a staff of some 1,700. But the top management is probably about six people, including the director.
§ Sir R, Thompson
I am glad to have the hon. Member for Smethwick (Mr. Faulds) with me on that. Nowhere in the commercial world or in the nationalised industries is so much work done in such inadequate and cramped, almost impossible, conditions by so few people.
Whatever we feel about charges, there is a better side to the package. I do not believe that we should have got the whole of the £11 million if the Treasury could not have been placated by some agreement to collect something at the time of admission.
As, for exemptions for special classes of people, of course we can all bat away 1048 and make a lot of runs for the groups whom we want to help. I support what has been said about old-age pensioners. I have never understood why the production of a pension book in this kind of situation should present any great administrative inconvenience. It is a straightforward operation which has been adopted widely elsewhere.
I do not believe that education will take a savage knock because of the proposed charges. Organised parties will be admitted free of charge, and that kind of arrangement will take care of a large number of young people who wish to come. After that, a shilling for an individual visit is not asking a great deal when one thinks of the "bobs" which go on cinemas, ice-creams, and the other perfectly reasonable commodities on which children spend money. I think that hon. Members opposite tend to over-paint this picture when they describe it.
§ Mr. Jeffrey Archer
But surely my hon. Friend sees the difference. If a child buys an ice-cream for a shilling, it is because he wants the ice-cream. The great feature of children going to galleries is when they find themselves inside almost accidentally, and then want to go again.
§ Sir R. Thompson
I do not think that it is a valid reason against admission charges to say that it is important for a child to find himself inside a gallery accidentally. We need a more positive reason than that.
The other class for which I should like to see an exemption is the "supporters' club", by which I mean those people who, in return for subscriptions, obtain quite modest privileges at a museum or gallery. I must declare my interest at this point since I am chairman of the British Museum Society, which is just such a club. It does a great deal for the museum and attracts outside funds for it. It has a considerable rôle to play in that direction. Although I realise the administrative difficulty of creating classes of people who will not pay or who will pay less, the position of supporters' clubs, which are doing the Government's job for them in making museums more popular and sometimes contributing to their funds, might perhaps be reconsidered.
To the extent that this package provides additional funds for a sorely neglected sector of our national framework. 1049 I consider that it is acceptable, and I intend to vote for it tonight.
§ 6.20 p.m.
§ Mr. Thomas Torney (Bradford, South)
Although I do not possess the knowledge of the Arts of my hon. Friend the Member for Smethwick (Mr. Faulds), I have something else which has been mentioned by the hon. Member for Bristol, West (Mr. Robert Cooke), namely, grassroots experience. Unfortunately for me and my generation, I was too busy struggling for existence and the means to live when I was a child to be able to enjoy the appreciation of the Arts, museums, and so on, about which we are talking today. People from the grass roots like myself have one resolve: to try to make better opportunities for our children and our children's children. This is why the charge for museums is so appalling.
The Minister spoke eloquently, but she does not seem to have grasped one simple fact, which is tantamount to what happens within the Conservative Party. Hon. Members opposite cannot understand that what to them is only 10p or two shillings, to a working-class family in my constituency is a tremendous amount.
There is nothing quite like the wonderful museums and art galleries in London. People in the North as a whole love a day out in London. If a man and his wife bring their two children to London it will cost them 30p, or six shillings, to get into the museums or art galleries. That is approximately a third of a £. If the family takes its holidays, as most do, in July and August, it will cost 60p, or approximately two-thirds of a £. I say in all sincerity as a grass-roots person—you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, coined the phrase for me, and I am proud of it—that 30p or 60p out of the pocket of a working man coming from the North is an awful lot of money.
I believe—I think that educationists also believe—that parents should be encouraged to participate with their children in going into our museums and art galleries. The schools can whet their appetite, but this should be followed by parents being with the kiddies afterwards.
This charge is too much for the people I have described. They are in the same category as pensioners, about whom the 1050 hon. Member for Louth (Mr. Jeffrey Archer) spoke. I feel sentimental about pensioners, and I also feel sentimental about the people in my constituency who have all these extras to pay. We are not dealing with workers in high-income groups. I represent a low-income area where men are threatened with redundancy and short-time working.
I should like to read part of a letter from a group of my constituents who were coming to London to visit the Houses of Parliament. I hope that we shall not put a charge on visiting this place. That would be the thin end of the wedge. My constituents apologise for cancelling their visit, and say:This is due partly to increased costs. Since we first arranged this outing the train fare alone has been increased by 60p and meals en route have also increased, and we feel it is better to wait to a later date".In other words, they could not afford to come. The right hon. Lady has made many thing more difficult. The increased costs of school meals, school milk, and so on, have contributed to the difficulties.
I am grateful for having had this opportunity to speak in the debate. I appeal to the Minister to think again about this miserable and niggardly charge which she is making.
§ 6.24 p.m.
§ Mr. G. R. Strauss (Vauxhall)
I am glad that my hon. Friend the Member for Bradford, South (Mr. Torney) was able to make his speech. He spoke with great knowledge and intimate experience of the problem. He made an important contribution to the debate.
I should also like to express my congratulations to the hon. Member for Louth (Mr. Jeffrey Archer) not only because I agreed with nearly everything that he said, but because he expressed it in an extraordinarily impressive and forceful way. It was one of the ablest speeches I have heard from the back benches on either side for a long time. I hope that the Minister will take note of what he said.
The right hon. Lady talked about the concession to old-age pensioners being only 5p instead of 10p. I think that she would have been wise, if she was to make a concession at all, to have gone the whole way and made entrance for them completely free. The right hon. 1051 Lady knows that when a Minister or anybody else in this House makes a mistake and later makes an apology, it is always accepted if it is a full and complete one without any qualifications. While she was about it, it would have been worthwhile to make a complete concession to the old-age pensioners and to say that they could go in for nothing.
My only other comment on previous speeches concerns the hon. Member for Hemel Hempstead (Mr. Allason) who seems to be ignorant of the fact that the restoration departments in our national galleries—the National Gallery itself and the Tate—are better than any in the world and that our great pictures which have to be restored are always done and remarkably well, in those departments.
§ Mr. Allason
I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will give me credit. My criticism was about the lack of apprenticeship there.
§ Mr. Strauss
If the hon. Gentleman's point were that we have not got sufficient staff and that we should have more, I do not disagree with him at all.
The most surprising thing to me about the proposal to impose entrance charges is that it is sponsored by Lord Eccles. Contrary to my hon. Friend the Member for Smethwick (Mr. Faulds), who opened the debate in such a militant and pleasing way, I have always regarded Lord Eccles with a great deal of admiration. I thought that he was an enlightened Minister of Education. I know that he is devoted to the arts, particularly the visual arts, and has frequently spoken about making them more easily accessible to the public. He has written a book from which I could make many quotations to the House along those lines. He was also chairman of the trustees of the British Museum. When chairman, he expressed the view that there should be no entrance charges. That is not the view which he apparently now holds. We find him determined that entrance charges to our national museums and galleries should be imposed despite the vehement opposition of the majority of the trustees, curators and directors concerned.
What has brought about this change? The first reason appears to be purely political. Indeed, in the House of Lords, 1052 on 16th December, he said: "The first and main reason for imposing charges is a political one. It is central to the policy on which we fought and won the General Election."
That is an extraordinary deduction from an election manifesto which promised greater freedom and a better life for everybody. Anyhow, that is his deduction. The noble Lord went on to say that there are too many subsidies being paid out and that they ought to be reduced. He accepts the general Conservative philosophy now, although in application to the arts it flouts all his previous declarations on the matter.
Then we have a second quite different reason, or excuse, for his change of policy. He says in effect that he was made to bring about this entrance charge by the Treasury. He passes the buck to the Chancellor of the Exchequer. This he explained in an interview with the Press a little time ago when he said that he was forced—I do not know whether he used the word "forced"—to bring about these entrance charges and put it to the Treasuryas a sprat to catch a mackerel".It is significant that he used the word "sprat", indicaiting that he considers this an insignificant matter and of no importance.
Having justified himself on the ground that he was forced to do it by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, he goes on to say "Look, it was worth it, I have got a lot more money for the museums and galleries which they need." We all agree that they need it, but there are two questions which we have now to ask ourselves. Has the noble Lord really got so much money for the museums and galleries? According to the White Paper, £11 million is to be spent over ten years. That is all. That is a petty amount compared with the amount spent on other matters, including the arts. I see that the hon. Gentleman is studying the White Paper. It says that the money spent will amount to £11 million by the late 'seventies. That is not a great amount of money.
The second question is, would not this amount have been available from the Exchequer if this charge had not been imposed? The answer is that it most certainly would. Year after year the Labour Government substantially increased the 1053 the amount of money available to the arts, to the Arts Council, and to other art purposes, and it is ridiculous to suggest that the money that will be provided by these increased charges would not have been made available automatically from the Exchequer without breaching the long and honourable tradition that we have in this country of free entry to our national museums and galleries. That argument is therefore nonsense.
There have been many financial crises in this country over the last 100 to 150 years, when the Exchequer has said that it is short of money, that it has to raise taxation or make various fiscal squeezes. Never on any occasion, except once when the suggestion was quickly withdrawn, during this period has it ever been suggested by any Conservative or Liberal Government that the arts should be taxed or that money should be raised from the public who want to view the arts. This is the first time that that has happened, and I hope that the Government and the public will bear that in mind.
It is clear that this policy will mostly affect the poorer sections of the community. Those who have sufficient resources will pay happily and continue to visit museums as they did before. For that reason the proposed tax is clearly divisive, as we say in the Motion, and because it is divisive we think that it is bad. Moreover, in this regrettably materialist age, is it not wrong to put any curb whatsoever on the public's access to our historic and artistic treasures which are an invaluable key to unlocking the non-material side of man?
In defence of the Government's proposal it is said that charges are imposed on visitors in European galleries and museums. That is a partial truth. In many galleries a charge is imposed, while in many others it is not, but I hope that it is not going to be argued as one reason for joining the Common Market that we should accept all the habits and customs of our European neighbours, however poor we may think they are compared with ours. Because they do something, that is no reason why we should imitate them. We have to ask ourselves whether it is better. Is it? Will it advantage either the museums or the people who visit them?
The Government are not putting our museum home visitors in the same posi 1054 tion as those in Europe, but in a far worse one. The authorities in all the European countries and towns which impose charges realise that it is desirable that their museums should be available free on at least one day a week for those who are too poor to pay the entrance charges which visitors from abroad are able to pay. I do not know them all, but the Louvre and the Uffizi Gallery have such a day on which people who find it difficult to afford the entrance fee can go with their children free to enjoy the great works of art in those galleries. This Government is depriving the poorer people of this country of the ability to go to our museums free of charge on any day, and when they suggest that they are putting us on a par with European galleries, they are misleading us. They are not. They are putting the poorer sections of the population in a worse position than those in Europe.
It is argued, too, that the effect of these charges is unlikely to bring about any reduction in the number of visitors. It is prayed in support of that argument that although there has been an increase in the entrance fee for the Tower of London, the number of visitors has increased. It is said that in spite of entrance fees to many other museums in the country—such as the Bowes Museum—the number of visitors has increased. As long as the number of visitors to this country continues to increase, so will the number of visitors to the Tower of London, the Bowes Museum, and similar places. There can be no doubt about that. The point is, to what extent will this charge have an effect on the ordinary member of the British public? To what extent will it prevent our own people from going to museums and galleries?
We have certain evidence about this which has been hinted at already. It has been said, rather as a justification for the Government's proposals, that at one time the Tate Gallery and the National Gallery imposed charges on two days a week. It is therefore suggested that no new principle is involved, but the answer to that is that those galleries imposed charges for the very purpose of keeping the public out—and they succeeded in doing that—so that students should then have the galleries to themselves. It follows surely that if charges are again imposed the public will again be kept out.
1055 The figures for the Tate Gallery were remarkable. Before the war, on the ordinary days when entrance was free, the number of visitors was between 2,000 and 3,000. On the days when an entrance fee of 6d. was charged, the number of visitors dropped to between 200 and 300. There are examples of what happened in other places recently. At Kenwood and elsewhere, after charges were introduced there was a considerable drop in the number of visitors.
No one knows to what extent the number of visitors will fall after charges are imposed. I do not think that the charges will have any effect on the number of tourists who will visit the galleries and museums, but what about the home population? No one, not even the Minister, would question that there will be some fall in their numbers. The right hon. Lady may say that their numbers will not decrease by much, but I maintain that if there is any fall at all in the numbers of our own people visiting our museums and galleries it will be a disgrace and a shame, and the proposal ought to be dropped.
It must be borne in mind that it is not only the really poor people who will be unable to visit our museums and galleries. Many people live on the fringe of poverty. Although in employment, they get low wages, and they, and those in receipt of pensions, will at any rate be discouraged, if not prevented, from spending 5p or 10p to visit a museum. They will hesitate before doing what perhaps they do now during their lunch hour, spend a quiet quarter of an hour in a museum. They will hesitate to make such visits if they have to pay an entrance fee. Many people get great pleasure out of a quick visit to a museum to look at one or more masterpieces which they particularly like. This kind of visit, important and enjoyable, will inevitably be discouraged by this reactionary proposal.
The effect of this charge on unaccompanied children is bound to be considerable. I suggest to the right hon. Lady that when she says that the important thing is that parties of children from schools will be allowed in free, she misses the point altogether. When those parties of children visit the museum, they should 1056 be talked to by some knowledgeable and sympathetic person about the pictures and what they stand for, and what the artist was seeking to convey—someone who generally will excite their interest. Unless this happens, and unless the children come back later of their own free will, a great deal of the value of the museums is destroyed. But as a result of the Government's proposals, the entire lives of some children may be impoverished by their being unable to have their aesthetic senses awakened in their early and formative years by quiet visits to galleries and museums during their leisure time.
The Government will of course defeat our Motion, but I believe that if there were a free vote the Government's proposal would be defeated. Hon. Members opposite would vote in large numbers against the imposition of these charges, not only because they are against it in principle, as many of them are, but because they know that this policy is antagonising the whole art world—an important and influential section of the community. For the sake of a miniscule contribution to the Treasury, this proposal is irretrievably tarnishing the Government's image as friends of the arts.
The next move in this controversy will be the introduction of the enabling Bill. That, of course, will be strenuously fought at every stage. Then, the Government will no doubt force the trustees, against their will, to impose the charges. The trustees will be in a difficult position. Their first duty is, by definition, to further the interests of the galleries and museums which they serve and the members of the public who patronise those galleries. With rare exceptions, all the trustees and the directors and curators are convinced that the Government's proposal is gravely damaging to the interests which they are there to defend. They conceive it their duty to make the museums and galleries more attractive and accessible to the public and not less so.
Least of all do they relish the prospect of being made reluctant unpaid tax collectors for the Chancellor of the Exchequer—collectors of a tax on knowledge and culture. But they will be forced, no doubt, to accept the Government's orders, however much they dislike them. They will then have at least 1057 this consolation—the prospect of the reversal of this mean, philistine, doctrinaire and altogether despicable policy by the next Labour Government.
§ 6.43 p.m.
§ The Under-Secretary of State for Education and Science (Mr. William van Straubenzee)
It is unnecessary for me, and in view of our positions it would be impertinent on my part to welcome back the right hon. Member for Vauxhall (Mr. Strauss). I do not know what the phrase is when a right hon. Gentleman returns to the Dispatch Box, but I am sure that many hon. Members on both sides are glad to see him back. I am sure also that they particularly appreciate the vigour with which he fairly and properly prosecuted his case and the much more telling way in which he did so by not descending to the personalities aimed at my right hon. Friend which were the distinguishing feature of the opening speech for the Opposition, that of the hon. Member for Smethwick (Mr. Faulds). We noted the way in which he carefully disengaged himself from the tone of his hon. Friend's speech, which was a wise and proper thing.
I was glad deliberately to give up time for a necessarily short speech by the hon. Member for Bradford, South (Mr. Torney) and I hope that, for that reason, I shall be permitted to deal as briskly as I may with at any rate some of the points which have been raised.
I must deal first with the assertion that there is some question of principle involved, that some great new principle is being established or some very ancient one is being breached. In fact, as hon. Members on both sides have said, a large number of the galleries and museums already make a charge. I am not the only hon. Member who has recently enjoyed the collection of Dutch pictures available to us at the Queen's Gallery and which, if any hon. Member has not seen it, is well worth taking time off to see. But one pays 15p to do it.
Visitors who go to one of the great historical monuments of the country, such as the Tower of London, with its 2,300,000 visitors a year, pay 20p throughout a long summer. If that is not sufficient, in that it applies only to London, I take the Bowes Museum which the right hon. Gentleman mentioned, which makes a 1058 charge of 10p. That is made by the Durham County Council, which I am sure is a very estimable body, but which lacks one thing—it does not have an overwhelming Tory majority.
So this is something which is established. To take another case, tomorrow morning, I am to enter into what I am sure will be a most amicable and brisk discussion with the right hon. Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Central (Mr. Edward Short) on the Government's admirable proposals on the subject of school milk. I suspect that, when we begin that amicable discussion, we shall hear mention of the county borough of Merthyr Tydfil, which has been very much in the news in this connection. That borough has an admirable gallery and museum, for which it makes an entrance charge of 2½p. I am sure it is an admirable place, but it has yet to be conquered by the Tory voters. That will come, but it is not yet.
Across the board, institution by institution and political persuasion by political persuasion, there are charges. Precisely the same arguments which have been adduced, I am sure deeply sincerely—I do not question their sincerity—for example, about the young and the old, apply to the Bowes Museum, or that in Merthyr Tydfil, taking two examples at random, as they do to the others about which we have spoken.
Or is it true, as the right hon. Gentleman argued very persuasively, that, where great national institutions are concerned, there is a great principle at stake? This point has been made before, but it must be repeated. A number of these great national institutions did make charges before. I am coming to the reason why and the right hon. Gentleman may be surprised to find that I agree with a lot of what he said on that point. But I am now dealing with the issue of principle. Is some principle being breached? The answer, historically, and demonstrably on his own facts, is that, before the war, there was a charge at the National Gallery, the Tate Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery—
§ Mr. van Straubenzee
I am dealing with the point of principle. I know that it is very irritating, particularly for the 1059 hon. Member for Penistone (Mr. Mendelson), who intervened from a sitting position, to have his arguments whipped from under him, but he must learn, as the right hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Grimond) said, that this is the place where people say things with which one does not necessarily agree. I am saying this and saying it very firmly.
It is perfectly true that the object in those days was to keep people out, and the charge succeeded in that object. It is true that if there is a charge on only one or two days a week, as was the case with the pre-war 6d., one will succeed in keeping people out, and in that the right hon. Gentleman, as one might expect of one who understands the subject, was dead right. When the pre-war charge was made, attendance fell by about a quarter. This is so when one makes a charge on only two days. Now, however, the object is different: it is to add to resources available and thereby to add to the available facilities and the possibilities of people being able to make visits.
We have to note that when recently, to take the latest example, there is a special exhibition—and I take the point made by the hon. Lady the Member for Wolverhampton, North-East (Mrs. Renée Short)—of the costumes of Henry VIII and his wives, with a charge of 30p a time, 25,000 people a day were prepared to make that payment.
§ Mr. van Straubenzee
I hope that the hon. Gentleman will not think me discourteous if I do not give way, but I have already cut the time available to me.
That example showed clearly that there are, and one rejoices in it, many people who are prepared to make this sort of payment. It also shows that if one uses imagination and couples the museum with, for example, an effective television programme, it is remarkable what one can do. But it is a fact that many of our museums and galleries today are simply not equipped to do this sort of work.
I hope and believe that hon. Members are pleased with the reductions for old age pensioners announced by my right hon. Friend. I want to make this plea: 1060 I hope that I shall not be pressed from either side of the House, though I should absolutely understand the reasons for it, to make a further concession in respect of those pensioners who are receiving supplementary payments. Under both Governments we have moved to trying to do away with the identification of such old age pensioners and it would be, not a forward, but a retrograde step to require them to identify themselves.
I know that there are arguments which hon. Gentlemen opposite advance sincerely, but to them I reply that, if the charge overall is to be kept at a figure which, without question, surprised and pleased the museum world by being much lower than it had expected, a basic charge of 10p, the possibility of widespread reductions and exemptions is severely limited. I believe that my right hon. Friend's announcement today was very much in accord with the general approach towards payments by old age pensioners, and that is something with which everybody will be pleased.
I must deal with the argument persuasively made by my hon. Friend the Member for Louth (Mr. Jeffrey Archer). I am grateful to him for his kindly references to what he called my forbearance with him. I shall take an enlarged drink from him afterwards for what he alleges he is to do. My noble Friend will look carefully at the possibility of some kind of further exemption for "friends" of institutions. But I must say that my hon. Friend with his great experience will instantly realise that if there were to be anything like this, there would be the administrative difficulties mentioned by my hon. Friend the Member for Croydon, South (Sir R. Thompson), who speaks with great experience. As my hon. Friend will at once understand, it would clearly have to be coupled with at least a minimum charge for being a "friend" and this in turn would require that we should inject ourselves into the "friends" organisation in a way in which, I suspect, my hon. Friend would prefer not to have us.
I was asked about free days. I do not know whether the right hon. Member for Vauxhall knows that there is a considerable division of opinion in the museum and gallery world about free days.
§ Mr. Strauss indicated assent.
§ Mr. van Straubenzee
I see the right hon. Gentleman nodding assent; he is 1061 closely in touch with it. He will also agree that there is considerable doubt among museum and gallery authorities about whether they could cope with the free-day concept. I understand that the majority view is that they would prefer not to have to do so.
I must refer to the nature of the legislation. Some play was made with this in the speech of the hon. Member for Smethwick. I make no point of this, but there was a moment in our discussions earlier this year, when he could not be with us for reasons which we all regret, when he would have noticed, for example, my answer to his right hon. Friend on 4th March, 1971—
§ Mr. van Straubenzee
This was even better, if I may say so—when I made absolutely clear the nature of the legislation.
However, I ought to make it expressly clear that the request to make charges comes from the Government; the Government take full responsibility for making the request. The responsibility for the legislation, which is necessary for only four of the institutions, lies upon the Government, and the Government take full responsibility for it. I must therefore say that if I were Sir Robert Sainsbury and were preparing a statement, I should say that as a trustee of such a body as that I should not for a moment do other than agree with the Government's request.
As I listened to the hon. Member for Smethwick—and it was genuinely a splendid performance, a matinee, indeed, to remember—
§ Mr. van Straubenzee
This is not a matinee, that is why—my mind went back to a speech from this side of the House when the present Opposition were the Government and when we were debating a request by our predecessors that the universities should double, or sharply increase, the fees for overseas
§ students. There was no legislation; it was merely a request by the Government.
§ It was not considered at all improper that it should be done in that way by the Labour Government, and that was quite recent. There was an abstention even on that occasion. I hope that it will not be as catching today as it then was, although the similarities are close. The hon. Gentleman cannot say that what is proper for him, what is entirely right for dealing with an independent university by his Government, is improper when done in similar circumstances by the present Government.
§ There is a serious comment to make about it. As I understood the hon. Gentleman, as he ended he said that he would be watching the trustees' reactions to this request from the Tory Government. I assume that he means by that that he is threatening them, and if ever the time comes when he is—and he calmly assumed that he would be—Minister for the Arts—
§ Mr. Faulds indicated assent.
§ Mr. van Straubenzee
The hon. Gentleman announces it to the House, and the blanches on the faces behind him are a joy to see. If he did so say that he would presumably deal with them in some determined way, that is a threat, and—
§ Mr. van Straubenzee
A withdrawal in the final moment of the debate from the hon. Gentleman on that point.
§ On the arguments which we have adduced, I ask the House to reject the Motion.
That this House deplores the imposition of entrance charges to the national museums and galleries which will diminish educational opportunities, particularly for the young and old; and declares its opposition to such charges, which will further the Government's clear intention of creating a divided nation:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 266, Noes 296.1067
|Division No. 385.]||AYES||[6.59 p.m.|
|Abse, Leo||Archer, Peter (Rowley Regis)||Bagier, Gordon A. T.|
|Albu, Austen||Armstrong, Ernest||Barnes, Michael|
|Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)||Ashton, Joe||Barnett, Joel|
|Allen, Scholefield||Atkinson, Norman||Beaney, Alan|
|Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony Wedgwood||Hannan, William (G'gow, Maryhill)||Mulley, Rt. Hn. Frederick|
|Bennett, James (Glasgow, Bridgeton)||Hardy, Peter||Murray, Ronald King|
|Bidwell, Sydney||Harper, Joseph||Ogden, Eric|
|Bishop, E. S.||Harrison, Walter (Wakefield)||O'Halloran, Michael|
|Blenkinsop, Arthur||Hart, Rt. Hn. Judith||O'Malley, Brian|
|Boardman, H. (Leigh)||Hattersley, Roy||Oram, Bert|
|Booth, Albert||Healey, Rt. Hn. Denis||Orbach, Maurice|
|Boyden, James (Bishop Auckland)||Heffer, Eric S.||Orme, Stanley|
|Bradley, Tom||Hilton, W. S.||Oswald, Thomas|
|Brown, Bob (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, W.)||Horam, John||Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, Sutton)|
|Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan)||Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas||Paget, R. T.|
|Brown, Ronald (Shoreditch & F'bury)||Howell, Denis (Small Heath)||Palmer, Arthur|
|Buchan, Norman||Huckfield, Leslie||Pannell, Rt. Hn. Charles|
|Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn)||Hughes, Rt. Hn. Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Pardoe, John|
|Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)||Hughes, Mark (Durham)||Parker, John (Dagenham)|
|Callaghan, Rt. Hn. James||Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen, N.)||Parry, Robert (Liverpool, Exchange|
|Campbell, I. (Dunbartonshire, W.)||Hughes, Roy (Newport)||Pavitt, Laurie|
|Cant, R. B.||Hunter, Adam||Peart, Rt. Hn. Fred|
|Carmichael, Neil||Irvine, Rt. Hn. Sir Arthur (Edge Hill)||Pendry, Tom|
|Carter, Ray (Birmingh'm, Northfield)||Janner, Greville||Pentland, Norman|
|Carter-Jones, Lewis (Eccles)||Jay, Rt. Hn. Douglas||Prescott, John|
|Castle, Rt. Hn. Barbara||Jeger, Mrs. Lena (H'b'n&St. P'cras, S.)||Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Clark, David (Colne Valley)||Jenkins, Hugh (Putney)||Price, William (Rugby)|
|Cocks, Michael (Bristol, S.)||Jenkins, Rt. Hn. Roy (Stechford)||Probert, Arthur|
|Cohen, Stanley||Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.)||Rankin, John|
|Concannon, J. D.||Johnson, Walter (Derby, S.)||Reed, D. (Sedgefield)|
|Conlan, Bernard||Jones, Barry (Flint, E.)||Rees, Merlyn (Leeds, S.)|
|Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Jones, Dan (Burnley)||Rhodes, Geoffrey|
|Cox, Thomas (Wandsworth, C.)||Jones. Rt. Hn. Sir Elwyn (W. Ham, S.)||Richard, Ivor|
|Crawshaw, Richard||Jones, Gwynoro (Carmarthen)||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)|
|Cronin, John||Jones, T. Alec (Rhondda, W.)||Robertson, John (Paisley)|
|Crosland, Rt. Hn. Anthony||Judd, Frank||Roderick, Caerwyn E.(Br'c'n&R'dnor)|
|Crossman, Rt. Hn. Richard||Kaufman, Gerald||Rodgers, William (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Cunningham, G. (Islington, S. W.)||Kelley, Richard||Roper, John|
|Dalyell, Tarn||Kerr, Russell||Rose, Paul B.|
|Darling, Rt. Hn. George||Kinnock, Neil||Ross, Rt. Hn. William (Kilmarnock)|
|Davidson, Arthur||Lamble, David||Sheldon, Robert (Ashton-under-Lyne)|
|Davies, Denzil (Llanelly)||Lamond, James||Shore, Rt. Hn. Peter (Stepney)|
|Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.)||Latham, Arthur||Short, Rt. Hn. Edward (N'c'tle-u-Tyne)|
|Davies, Ifor (Gower)||Lawson, George||Short, Mrs. Renée (W'hampton. N. E.)|
|Davis, Clinton (Hackney, C.)||Leadbitter, Ted||Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford)|
|Davis, Terry (Bromsgrove)||Lee, Rt. Hn. Frederick||Silkin, Hn. S. C. (Dulwich)|
|Deakins, Eric||Leonard, Dick||Sillars, James|
|de Freitas, Rt. Hn. Sir Geoffrey||Lestor, Miss Joan||Silverman, Julius|
|Delargy, H. J.||Lever, Rt. Hn. Harold||Skinner, Dennis|
|Dell, Rt. Hn. Edmund||Lewis, Arthur (W. Ham, N.)||Small, William|
|Dempsey, James||Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)||Smith, John (Lanarkshire, N.)|
|Doig, Peter||Lipton, Marcus||Spearing, Nigel|
|Douglas, Dick (Stirlingshire, E.)||Lomas, Kenneth||Spriggs, Leslie|
|Driberg, Tom||Loughlin, Charles||Stallard, A. W.|
|Duffy, A. E. P.||Lyon, Alexander W. (York)||Steel, David|
|Dunnett, Jack||Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson||Stewart, Donald (Western Isles)|
|Eadie, Alex||McBride, Neil||Stewart, Rt. Hn. Michael (Fulham)|
|Edelman, Maurice||McCartney, Hugh||Stoddart, David (Swindon)|
|Edwards, Robert (Bilston)||McElhone, Frank||Stonehouse, Rt. Hn. John|
|Ellis, Tom||McGuire, Michael||Strang, Gavin|
|English, Michael||Mackenzie, Gregor||Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R.|
|Evans, Fred||Mackie, John||Summerskill, Hn. Dr. Shirley|
|Faulds, Andrew||Mackintosh, John P.||Swain, Thomas|
|Fisher, Mrs. Doris (B'ham, Ladywood)||Maclennan, Robert||Taverne, Dick|
|Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)||McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.)||Thomas, Rt. Hn. George (Cardiff, W.)|
|Foley, Maurice||McNamara, J. Kevin||Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)|
|Foot, Michael||Mahon, Simon (Bootle)||Thomson, Rt. Hn. G. (Dundee, E.)|
|Ford, Ben||Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)||Thorpe, Rt. Hn. Jeremy|
|Forrester, John||Mallalieu. J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)||Tinn, James|
|Fraser, John (Norwood)||Marks, Kenneth||Tomney, Frank|
|Freeson, Reginald||Marquand, David||Torney, Tom|
|Galpern, Sir Myer||Marsden, F.||Tuck, Raphael|
|Garrett, W. E.||Marshall, Dr. Edmund||Urwin, T. W.|
|Gilbert, Dr. John||Mason, Rt. Hn. Roy||Varley, Eric G.|
|Ginsburg David||Mayhew, Christopher||Wainwright, Edwin|
|Golding, John||Meacher, Michael||Walden, Brian (B'm'ham, All Saints)|
|Gordon Walker, Rt. Hn. P. C.||Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert||Walker, Harold (Doncaster)|
|Gourtay, Harry||Mendelson, John||Wallace, George|
|Grant, George (Morpeth)||Mikardo, Ian||Watkins, David|
|Grant, John D. (Islington, E.)||Millan, Bruce||Weitzman, David|
|Griffiths, Eddie (Brightside)||Miller, Dr. M. S.||Wellbeloved, James|
|Griffiths, Will (Exchange)||Milne, Edward (Blyth)||Wells, William (Walsall, N.)|
|Grimond, Rt. Hn. J.||Mitchell, R. C. (S'hampton, Itchen)||White, James (Glasgow, Pollok)|
|Gunter, Rt. Hn. R. J.||Molloy, William||Whitehead, Phillip|
|Hamilton, James (Bothwell)||Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire)||Whitlock, William|
|Hamilton, William (Fife, W.)||Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)||Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick|
|Hamling, William||Moyle, Roland||Williams, Alan (Swansea, w.)|
|Williams, Mrs. Shirley (Hitchin)||Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Williams, W. T. (Warrington)||Woof, Robert||Mr. Alan Fitch and|
|Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)||Mr. James A. Dunn.|
|Adley, Robert||Eyre, Reginald||Knox, David|
|Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash)||Farr, John||Lambton, Antony|
|Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead)||Fell, Anthony||Lane, David|
|Amery, Rt. Hn. Julian||Fenner, Mrs. Peggy||Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry|
|Astor, John||Fidler, Michael||Le Marchant, Spencer|
|Atkins, Humphrey||Finsberg, Geoffrey (Hampstead)||Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)|
|Awdry, Daniel||Fisher, Nigel (Surbiton)||Lloyd, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey (Sut'nC'dfielc|
|Baker, Kenneth (St. Marylebone)||Fletcher-Cooke, Charles||Lloyd, Ian (P'tsm'th, Langstone)|
|Baker, W. H. K. (Banff)||Fookes, Miss Janet||Longden, Gilbert|
|Barber, Rt. Hn. Anthony||Fortescue, Tim||Loveridge, John|
|Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton||Foster, Sir John||McAdden, Sir Stephen|
|Bell, Ronald||Fowler, Norman||Mac Arthur, Ian|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport)||Fox, Marcus||McCrindle, R. A.|
|Benyon, W.||Fry, Peter||McLaren, Martin|
|Berry, Hn. Anthony||Galbraith, Hn. T. G.||Maclean, Sir Fitzroy|
|Biffen, John||Gardner, Edward||Macmillan, Maurice (Farnham)|
|Biggs-Davison, John||Gibson-Watt, David||McNair-Wilson, Michael|
|Blaker, Peter||Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, C.)||McNair-Wilson, Patrick (New Fores|
|Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S. W.)||Gilmour, Sir John (Fife, E.)||Maddan, Martin|
|Body, Richard||Glyn, Dr. Alan||Madel, David|
|Boscawen, Robert||Godber, Rt. Hn. J. B.||Maginnis, John E.|
|Bossom, Sir Clive||Goodhart, Phillip||Marples, Rt. Hn. Ernest|
|Bowden, Andrew||Goodhew, Victor||Marten, Neil|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hn. John||Gorst, John||Mather, Carol|
|Braine, Bernard||Gower, Raymond||Maude, Angus|
|Bray, Ronald||Grant, Anthony (Harrow, C.)||Maudling, Rt. Hn. Reginald|
|Brewis, John||Gray, Hamish||Mawby, Ray|
|Brinton, Sir Tatton||Green, Alan||Maxweil-Hyslop, R. J.|
|Brocklebank-Fowler, Christopher||Grieve, Percy||Meyer, Sir Anthony|
|Brown, Sir Edward (Bath)||Grylls, Michael||Mills, Peter (Torrington)|
|Bruce-Gardyne, J.||Gummer, Selwyn||Mitchell, Lt. -Col. C. (Aberdeenshire, w)|
|Bryan, Paul||Gurden, Harold||Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)|
|Buchanan-Smith, Alick (Angus, N&M)||Hall, Miss Joan (Keighley)||Moate, Roger|
|Buck, Antony||Hall, John (Wycombe)||Molyneaux, James|
|Bullus, Sir Eric||Hall-Davis, A. G. F.||Money, Ernie|
|Burden, F. A.||Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury)||Monks, Mrs. Connie|
|Butler, Adam (Bosworth)||Hannam, John (Exeter)||Montgomery, Fergus|
|Campbell, Rt, Hn. G.(Moray&Nalrn)||Harrison, Brian (Maldon)||Morgan, Geraint (Denbigh)|
|Carlisle, Mark||Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye)||Morgan-Giles, Rear-Adm.|
|Carr, Rt. Hn. Robert||Haselhurst, Alan||Morrison, Charles (Devizes)|
|Cary, Sir Robert||Hastings, Stephen||Mudd, David|
|Channon, Paul||Havers, Michael||Murton, Oscar|
|Chapman, Sydney||Hawkins, Paul||Nabarro, Sir Gerald|
|Chataway, Rt. Hn. Christopher||Hayhoe, Barney||Neave, Airey|
|Chichester-Clark, R.||Heseltine, Michael||Nicholls, Sir Harmar|
|Churchill, W. S.||Hicks, Robert||Noble, Rt. Hn. Michael|
|Clark, William (Surrey, E.)||Higgins, Terence L.||Normanton, Tom|
|Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe)||Hiley, Joseph||Nott, John|
|Clegg, Walter||Hill, John E. B. (Norfolk, S.)||Onslow, Cranley|
|Cockeram, Erie||Hill, James (Southampton, Test)||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.|
|Cooke, Robert||Holland, Philip||Osborn John|
|Coombs, Derek||Holt, Miss Mary||Owen, Idris (Stockport, N.)|
|Cooper, A. E.||Hordrn, Peter||Page, Graham (Crosby)|
|Cordle, John||Hornby, Richard||Page, John (Harrow, W.)|
|Cormack, Patrick||Hornsby-Smith. Rt. Hn. Dame Patricia||Parkinson, Cecil (Enfield, W.)|
|Costain, A. P.||Howe, Hn. Sir Geoffrey (Reigate)||Peel, John|
|Critchley, Julian||Howell, David (Guildford)||Percival, Ian|
|Crouch, David||Howell, Ralph (Norfolk, N.)||Peyton, Rt. Hn. John|
|Crowder, F. P.||Hunt, John||Pink, R. Bonner|
|Curran, Charies||Hutchison, Michael Clark||Pounder, Rafton|
|Davies, Rt. Hn. John (Knutsford)||Iremonger, T. L.||Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch|
|d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry||Irvine, Bryant Godman||Price, David (Eastleigh)|
|d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Maj.-Gen. James||James, David||Prior, Rt. Hn. J. M. L.|
|Dean, Paul||Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford)||Proudfoot, Wilfred|
|Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F.||Johnson Smith, G. (E. Grinstead)||Pym, Rt. Hn. Francis|
|Digby, Simon Wingfield||Jone", Arthur (Northants, S.)||Quennell, Miss J. M.|
|Dixon, Piers||Jopling, Michael||Raison, Timothy|
|Dodds-Parker, Douglas||Joseph, Rt. Hn. Sir Keith||Redmond, Robert|
|Douglas-Home, Rt. Hn. Sir Alec||Kelfett, Mrs. Elaine||Reed, Laurance (Bolton, E.)|
|Drayson, G. B.||Kilfedder, James||Rees, Peter (Dover)|
|du Cann, Rt. Hn. Edward||Kimball, Marcus||Rees-Davies, W. R.|
|Dykes, Hugh||King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.)||Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David|
|Eden, Sir John||King, Tom (Bridgwater)||Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon|
|Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke)||Kinsey, J. R.||Ridley, Hn. Nicholas|
|Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)||Kirk, Peter||Ridsdale, Julian|
|Elliott, R. W. (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, N.)||Kitson, Timothy||Roberts, Michael (Cardiff, N)|
|Emery, Peter||Knight, Mrs. Jill||Roberts, Wyn (Conway)|
|Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks)||Stuttaford, Dr. Tom||Walker, Rt. Hn. Peter (Worcester)|
|Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)||Sutcliffe, John||Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek|
|Rost, Peter||Tapsell, Peter||Wall, Patrick|
|Royle, Anthony||Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)||Walters, Dennis|
|Russell, Sir Ronald||Taylor, Edward M.(G'gow, Cathcart)||Ward, Dame Irene|
|St, John-Stevas, Norman||Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)||Warren, Kenneth|
|Scott, Nicholas||Taylor, Robert (Croydon, N. W.)||Weatherill, Bernard|
|Sharpies, Richard||Tebbit, Norman||Wells, John (Maidstone)|
|Shaw, Michael, (Sc'b'gh & Whitby)||Temple, John M.||White, Roger (Gravesend)|
|Shelton, William (Clapham)||Thatcher, Rt. Hn. Mrs. Margaret||Whitelaw, Rt. Hn. William|
|Simeons, Charles||Thomas, John Stradling (Monmouth)||Wiggin, Jerry|
|Sinclair, Sir George||Thomas, Rt. Hn. Peter (Hendon, S.)||Wilkinson, John|
|Skeet, T. H. H.||Thompson, Sir Richard (Croydon, S.)||Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick|
|Smith, Dudley (W'wick & L'mington)||Tilmey, John||Wood, Rt. Hn. Richard|
|Soref, Harold||Trafford, Dr. Anthony||Woodhouse, Hn. Christopher|
|Speed, Keith||Trew, Peter||Woodnutt, Mark|
|Spence, John||Tugendhat, Christopher||Worsley, Marcus|
|Sproat, lain||Turton, Rt. Hn. Sir Robin||Wylie, Rt. Hn. N. R.|
|Stainton, Keith||van Straubenzee, W. R.||Younger, Hn. George|
|Stanbrook, Ivor||Vaughan, Dr. Gerard|
|Stewart-Smith, D. G. (Belper)||Vickers, Dame Joan||TELLERS FOR THE NOES|
|Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir M.||Waddington, David||Mr. Jasper More and|
|Stokes, John||Walder, David (Clitheroe)||Mr. Hector Monro.|