§ Mr. Andrew Faulds (Smethwick)
I beg to move Amendment No. 1, in page 1, line 8, at end insert:'but such admission charges shall not be made payable on more than six days in each week unless the trustees or governing body concerned are satisfied that to allow free admission on any day or days in the week would be undesirable'.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. E. L. Mallalieu)
With this Amendment I think we might conveniently discuss Amendment No. 2, in line 8, at end insert:'but the trustees or governing body concerned shall have power at their discretion to allow admission free of charge for one hour on not more than two days in each week'.and Amendment No. 3, in line 8, at end insert: 296'but such admission charges shall not be made payable on more than five days in each week unless the trustees or governing body concerned are satisfied that to allow free admission on any day or days in the week would be undesirable'.
§ Mr. Faulds
It is abundantly clear that a number of the boards of our national institutions wish to have a free day or free times at which visitors can be admitted without charge to view the objects and paintings with which they have been entrusted.
Eight of these national institutions have made it quite clear to the Minister that they wish to allow free access at certain times to their collections, and the Paymaster-General has had to admit the trustees' right so to do.
The other institutions have not pressed for free viewing simply because, in the judgment of their trustees, although they nearly unanimously reject the introduction of charges, they are frightened that 297 complete security and constant invigilation could not be ensured for their collections.
The National Gallery trustees have already decided to have one free day a week. The Chairman, Sir Edward Playfair, wrote to the noble Lord stating that his trustees were firmly opposed to any charges, but that they had to accept that the Government were in a position to enforce their policy through financial sanctions against the institutions that did not co-operate. His letter—I am sure the Under-Secretary will recall this—told the Paymaster-General bluntly that it was the trustee's business, not his how they achieved the £170,000 expected of them. Accordingly, they have decided to have free entrance on Wednesdays and to double up the entry charges on Mondays and Fridays.
The Tate Gallery issued a Press statement on 26th July this year, part of which said:We have not in any way changed the views which we have expressed regarding the undesirability in principle and detail of the Government's scheme of entrance charges. We much regret a decision which will substitute a most illiberal scheme for the present system, which has existed for generations and which is widely admired and envied abroad. … The Trustees have given a great deal of thought to the problem of how they could reconcile the Government's view, which is opposed to a free day, with their own wish to have some time when the public can visit the Tate without charge.The Trustees have decided that in present circumstances, and assuming that admission charges are imposed by the Government, their aim can best be achieved by opening the Gallery on Tuesday and Thursday evenings between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. without charge and this they will arrange for an experimental period of one year.Of course, the trustees, under the able guidance of their Chairman, Sir Robert Sainsbury, were perfectly entitled so to do, and to tell the Minister, in other words, to take a running jump.
The trustees of the National Galleries of Scotland, in their report for 1971, state:Nor can we be content with a situation in which we are pressed by the implicit threat of cuts in our grants to impose charges against our beliefs, or to seeing the conditions of past benefactions—where these include free public access to the works of art concerned—overruled by Order under the new legislation. [...] We would strongly press that we should, at our discretion, be able to provide one free day in each week.298 5.15 p.m.
The trustees of the National Museum, of Antiquities of Scotland state in their report this year that there has been a marked decrease in attendance because there seemed to be a widespread belief that charges had already been introduced; and they deduce:The present figures, however, reinforce the case for at least a weekly free day.The situation at the Ulster Museum is that the Government intend, by Order in Council, to scrap the existing legislation, which provides for three days free viewing a week in Belfast. That action will be taken against the wishes of the trustees, and with no public debate on the question in the sad circumstances of Northern Ireland.
We come then to the Wallace Collection. This is an enormously rich bequest to the nation which must be worth the best part of £200 million. It is a set collection, so has no requirement for a purchase grant, and is therefore happily open neither to the blandishments nor to the blackmail of the Minister. The trustees have decided, rightly and courageously, to have a free day without doubling up the charges on any other day. The probable loss in takings over a year would be about £3,000. This has sent the noble Lord in another place into a terrible tizzy. He complained in the other place, on 10th August, thatobviously to have a fee free day without any compensating increase in the charges would mean that the Wallace Collection was not collecting its fair proportion of the £1 million."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, House of Lords. 10th August; Vol. 334, c. 1273.]I ask the Under-Secretary directly: what is his noble Friend contemplating in revenge? I like that smile. I hope it means that we shall get an answer. Does he intend to cut the Gallery's money with which it pays its staff? Perhaps the Under-Secretary will come clean and tell us.
What would a free day cost at the eight institutions which have expressed a wish to introduce them? We know, from the optimistic assessments of the Department, what the figures of hoped far takings are. Incidentally, most of the figures which appeared in the Supply Estimates did not originate from, and did not receive the endorsement of, the various institutions, despite—I am sorry to say this—the misleading replies given to me by the 299 Under-Secretary. However, the Department's estimates of gross annual takings were, for the four English institutions, £302,000—the figures appear in HANSARD of 18th January, c. 139—and, for the four Scottish institutions, £36,400—HANSARD of 15th March. That makes a grand total of £338,400. Therefore, it is easy to deduce that the loss for one free day a week would be unlikely to exceed more than a sixth or so of that total—about £60,000.
As I summed up in a rather good article in The Spectator of 14th October this year:Must the Government really insist on penalising the institutions to extort this miserable sum from the public, on the score that the nation cannot face so damaging a loss?Really! Why is there all this outcry from responsible people in the educational, communications and art worlds, at this imposition of charges? I believe it is simply that they realise better than this unfeeling and uncaring Government that many people in our supposedly affluent society simply cannot afford to find the sums needed for a family visit: that many children who would fire their imaginations and sate their curiosity by frequently visiting museums and wandering round them cannot afford to find the fivepences: that those on low incomes, like old-age pensioners, those on supplementary benefit and the widowed, need their carefully collected pennies for carefully calculated expenditure on food and warmth and the necessities of life. The chronically ill are penny-pinched already. Are their misfortunes to be added to by the deprivation of satisfaction of their hunger for beauty and enlightement and spiritual uplift which they can get when they go into a gallery?
I urge the Government to accept the Amendment. It is already clear that eight of our national institutions are eager to provide free viewing on certain occasions weekly. The Government should consider the informed arguments of the trustees, the informed arguments of the more responsible Press and the informed arguments of educationists. They should not broach the accepted tradition of generations of the public right to free viewing—, and in the case of the British Museum it goes back a couple of hundred years. The Government should considerately 300 take into account the sad situation of the impoverished and deprived members of our community who will simply have to do without the enrichment of viewing our great collections.
I urge the Government to have the sense and feeling to accept the Amendment.
§ Mr. Goodhart
I am sure that everyone is grateful to the hon. Member for Smethwick (Mr. Faulds) for having brought a touch of black magic to our debates this afternoon. I believe that once upon a time a certain Minister—I think that he was a Member of a Labour Administration—got into some trouble because he advanced the doctrine that the man from Whitehall knows best. Many Members who are now on this side of the House thought that that was not a right doctrine to put forward.
I believe, along with my hon. Friend the Member for Eastleigh (Mr. David Price), that in the past our national galleries and museums have been excessively dependent upon the Treasury and I would have hoped that the power to impose charges would have been used in such a way as to give them a certain modicum of independence, but the correspondence which has passed between the Paymaster-General and the Chairmen of the Boards of Trustees of the National Gallery and the Tate on the question of free days suggests that the power to impose charges has been used to decrease the power of the trustees, rather than to increase it.
It may well be that the Paymaster-General knows more about museums than anybody else in the business, and certainly anyone who has listened to him expound on this subject must have been impressed by his vast expertise, but it seems to me that the principle is wrong when he says "I do not see how I could allow free days at some museums and not at others." That seems to me to represent a wholly undesirable extension of the thesis that, first, Whitehall knows best and, secondly, that uniformity for all must take place because it is more convenient that way.
I want the trustees to have the power to have a free day without imposing excessive charges on other days. I want the trustees to have the power, if they 301 feel like using it, to give a free week, or even a free month, if they decide that the gallery and the public would benefit. I think that this is an instance in which the Government ought to follow traditional Conservative policy and keep their intervention to an absolute minimum.
§ Mr. Maurice Edelman (Coventry, North)
I thought that the hon. Member for Beckenham (Mr. Goodhart) used a felicitous phrase when he said that the Paymaster-General knew more about museums than anyone in the business. I am not sure whether the first part is appropriate, but I am certain that the hon. Gentleman is right when he so describes the mercenary approach of the Paymaster-General to the matters which we are discussing. Nevertheless, we welcome support from wherever it comes, and I hope that the Under-Secretary of State will be warned by the narrow majority in the last Division. I hope, indeed—and perhaps I may recall the coupletBetwixt the stirrup and the groundMercy I asked, mercy I found"—that he will be willing to accept the Amendment which, he will recall, was so narrowly defeated in Committee.
I need not remind the House that this is a Philistinic and reactionary Bill. It is a Bill which has been divisive in its effect. It has produced a confrontation not only between classes, but between administrators and the administered. It is a Bill which has revived some of the worst practices of the past when education and knowledge were taxed. The Under-Secretary of State might call it a charge on education or knowledge, but certainly the effect is the same.
I make this preamble because I want to deal specifically with Amendments Nos. 1 and 2, though with more sympathy for No. 2, because, as I said on Second Reading and in Committee, I do not regard the free day as something intrinsically desirable. I consider it to be a very second best alternative. If the choice is between people being totally deprived of the opportunity of access to galleries, or only partially deprived, then clearly one would settle for partial deprivation.
If I may, in one or two sentences, rehearse the arguments which I have used in the past, I am obliged to say that the idea of herding those unable to pay into the galleries on one specific 302 day when they will have the disadvantage of not being able to get near the pictures or objects which they want to see and study is clearly something that will handicap everyone who wants to go to museums and galleries.
The analogy of a sort of Bond Street vernissage, where crowds of people turn up to see the pictures, might be put forward as a reason for herding people into galleries on the free day—after all, these vernissages are free and, indeed, visitors have the opportunity of a free glass of champagne. But I cannot help feeling in the context of a free day for public galleries that all that will happen is that some of the most concerned people, some of those who are best qualified by temperament and by interest to view the pictures and study the objects, will have to see them under conditions substantially worse than those enjoyed by the paying public.
If I have to make a choice between the benefits of Amendment No. 1 and those of Amendment No. 2, I should be inclined to say that it would be much more desirable for museums and galleries to extend the hours of access to their premises by allowing free viewing after, say, 5 o'clock, or 6 o'clock, as the case may be.
In Committee, the Under-Secretary of State made the cogent point, which I accept, that administratively it will cost more to arrange for extensions of hours than would otherwise be the case. I ask him to take the analogy—I know that he is interested in analogies—of the great stores like Selfridges, Harrods or whatever it may be, which now have days when their hours are extended so that people who might otherwise be prevented from visiting their premises have the opportunity to do so. These commercial organisations overcome the administrative difficulties, perhaps involving paying overtime rates to the attendants or those in charge of security.
I see no administrative reason whatever why the museums and galleries covered by the Bill should not exercise the option of extending their hours so that people, instead of having to say, "I shall go on Tuesday because it is free then ", thus being put into the category of second-class citizen—travelling, so to speak, 303 second class artistically—will be able to go on any day of the week during the free hours if the inclination moves them.
I need not underline what was said by my hon. Friend the Member for Smethwick (Mr. Faulds) when he spoke, in effect—I am paraphrasing his words—of the pleasure of prowling in a gallery or museum. This, surely, is what education is all about. It is part of the quality and life—the slogan on which right hon. and hon. Members opposite were elected.
If the Government persist in barricading their empire by means of this toll which they will exact from those who want to have access to the heritage of the nation, they will do a great disservice not only to our generation but to generations to come.
Already, there has been a fall in admissions to some of the museums and galleries named in the Bill. This fall has not taken place because the charges have been applied. It has taken place because, thanks to the debate which has been going on in the nation as well as in the House, there is an impression, especially among young people, that the charges are already in operation, and for that reason young people are staying away. This is to do a great disservice to our nation and to prosperity, and for those reasons I hope that the Under-Secretary of State will think again.
§ Mr. Jeffrey Archer (Louth)
I support the right hon. Member for Vauxhall (Mr. Strauss), but I wish to open by thanking my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for his courtesy over the last nine months when, in private and in public, I have been his aggressor. At all times, I have appreciated the courtesy with which he has treated me, and, even though we have rarely agreed, I have been delighted that at all times he has attempted to answer each case individually.
I believe in seven free days a week. One free day is a bad compromise, but I shall support it because it is the only compromise which I see on the Paper that I can support. I saw it in New York, in the Museum of Modern Art, which many hon Members on both sides will have seen. It had its free day on a Monday, which appeared to be a very sensible day, after the weekend was over. If we 304 have to have the Bill, I am very much in favour of the free day, and I should even recommend that it be on a Monday.
I am against the Bill, as my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State knows because of the young and because of the old. I have at no time fought for the middle section, in respect of whom, perhaps, there is an argument for it. I have never seen an argument showing why the young or the old should pay.
Two days ago, I received a letter from an old-age pensioner which finally convinced me. There have been some of my hon. Friends, and even constituents, who said, "If they can spend money on bingo, why should not they be charged to go to a museum or art gallery?". I tried desperately to explain that the very people who go to museums and art galleries are not the people who go to bingo.
I shall now read this letter, which came to me not from a constituent but from someone who knew that I was against the Bill:Dear Sir, I am appealing as an old-age pensioner for the inspiring freedom of entry into our British national museums and art galleries, as enjoyed by present old-age pensioners, to be continued. During the last years of my life, I have had real and actual experience as an old-age pensioner of glorious freedom to see beautiful things exhibited freely in our national museums and art galleries. It was late in my life, because of a bad education, that I discovered them.This is especially dear to me now, when I realise that I am at the end of my life and must soon die. Please do everything in your power to see that this small pleasure which I still enjoy can be continued. It would be a wonderful action of your Government, and a courageous action for a Minister to stand up and say, 'We have made a mistake and we are going to drop the Bill'.Yours respectfully,J. A. G. Smith (Aged 83)".The Under-Secretary will say, perhaps rightly, that that is one case. I have never minded at any stage fighting for one person who wanted free admission to continue. I never minded fighting for a minority, a minority of young or a minority of old, even if they were a minority within the minority. I was still willing to fight for them, because if there is a section of the nation who will no longer be able to take advantage of the present freedom—or the privilege, as it would become—we are lesser in this House and we are lesser in this country.
305 The free day is a bad compromise. I consider this a bad Bill. I was particularly sorry, as, I know, the right hon. Member for Vauxhall was, that the Bill did not disappear quietly. I should not have been surprised because it looked as though, with the legislation for this Session, it could have been left to drift without much being said, and I suspect that the hon. Member for Smethwick (Mr. Faulds), despite much trumpet blowing up to now, would have let it go down fairly quietly if he thought we could have got rid of it that way.
For my part, I think that it would have done our side considerably more credit if the Minister had said, "We have made a mistake, and we are getting rid of the Bill." One compromise would have been to let it drop. The free day is a bad compromise, but I shall support it.
§ Mr. Guy Barnett
I do not wish to prolong the debate, but I must at the outset say how much I support everything said by the hon. Member for Louth (Mr. Jeffrey Archer). One outstanding feature of the whole debate so far has been the remarkable degree of unanimity between both sides in opposition to the Bill and the Government's introduction of it. I entirely concur in the arguments put by hon. Members opposite today. The free day is a second best. That is all it is. We should regret the necessity for it, but, it the Bill is to go through, we see it as the only answer to the kind of problem to which the hon. Member for Louth has just referred.
Apart from anything else, the free day would at least remove the seventh day of the week from the commercialism of the Paymaster-General. Moreover, it would enable great numbers of people such as those to whom the hon. Gentleman referred, when quoting from that letter, to go into our museums and enjoy them at a time in their lives when, perhaps, after years of lack of opportunity earlier in life, they have a chance to expand their education.
I have drawn to the Under-Secretary's attention the problems faced by large families living, perhaps, in outer London, people with limited means who, if the charges are instituted, will have to find, in addition to the cost of transport to and from, this additional sum. It will be an appalling consequence for them.
306 My hon. Friend the Member for Smethwick (Mr. Faulds) was right to point out the essential point which we should argue at this stage of the Bill, namely, that we should leave to the trustees a large element of discretion as to the way they handle their business. How much better that the trustees managing museums and galleries are left with the responsibility each to decide on his own and not according to a uniform principle laid down by the Paymaster-General as to what is the right or wrong thing to do.
My hon. Friend the Member for Smethwick referred to the situation of the Wallace Collection. If the Press is to be believed—I quote from Miscellany in The Guardian of 23rd September—a major test of wills is emerging between the Paymaster-General and the trustees of the Wallace Collection. In that test of wills I am on the side of the trustees of the Wallace Collection.
What is the battle of wills supposed to be about? The Wallace Collection is expected to collect £16,000. It will cost over £5,000. That makes a net income of £11,000. It has been estimated fairly reliably that the cost of a free day at the Wallace Collection would be about £3,000.
Because I was interested in the negotiations that have been going on between the Paymaster-General and the trustees I asked a Question which was replied to yesterday by the Under-Secretary of State. I asked him whether the projected meeting had taken place between the Paymaster-General and the Chairman of the Wallace Collection. I asked—what effect it has had on the decision of the Board to admit the public free on one clay a week, without compensatory increases in charges on other days.I received this almost ludicrous reply from the Under-Secretary:Yes. The Government are considering further under what conditions it would be possible for the trustees to have a free day without endangering the £1 million.It is almost as though the Paymaster-General regarded the £1 million as God—it is absolutely sacred. The opportunity to enable people who may be needy and who cannot afford the entrance fee to get in to see these beautiful pictures is being neglected because the Treasury must have its pound of flesh and will not forgo this small sum of £3,000.
307 The Under-Secretary should tell us whether the trustees of the Wallace Collection have given in to Lord Eccles, because I received no clear reply to my Question. I was merely told thatThe Government are considering further under what conditions it would be possible for the trustees to have a free day …".—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 17th October, 1972; Vol. 843, c. 53.]That reply suggests to me that the trustees have stood firm and that Lord Eccles has had no change out of them. If I am right in that, all I can say is good luck to them.
§ 5.45 p.m.
§ Mr. Sydney Chapman (Birmingham, Handsworth)
I apologise for intruding for a few minutes in the debate, but my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary knows that I felt after much contemplation compelled to vote against the Second Reading of the Bill some months ago.
I support what my hon. Friend the Member for Louth (Mr. Jeffrey Archer) said about the courtesy, consideration and patience with which my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary has dealt with criticisms in both public and private.
I adopt a slightly different standpoint from that of my hon. Friends the Members for Beckenham (Mr. Goodhart) and for Louth. I have never been against the principle of charging to enter these art galleries and museums. Indeed, I can see some consequences that might be agreeable if charges were made.
However, I have been totally against the principle of denying free access to all people, at least at certain times. We shall break a great British tradition if we do so for the relative pittance of £1 million, remembering that the total administrative costs of the art galleries and museums are £18 million.
I should therefore be able to support the Third Reading, whereas I was opposed to the Bill's Second Reading, if Amendment No. 1 were accepted. Although in a sense I prefer Amendment No. 3, which would in effect give a discretion of two free days rather than one free day a week, I am prepared to accept Amendment No. 1.
I appreciate but do not quite follow the argument of the hon. Member for Coventry, North (Mr. Edelman) in his 308 support of Amendment No. 2. I do not disagree with the Amendment, but I believe that it gives discretion for one free hour a day on only two days a week. I therefore think that the hon. Gentleman's arguments against Amendment No. 1 might apply to Amendment No. 2.
I ask my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary, who I know is very sensitive and who, as a result of putting forward the Bill, has received much unfair criticism, to see if he can make it possible for the Government to accept Amendment No. 1.
My hon. Friend the Member for Louth has spoken in eloquent terms, as have other hon. Members, about the need to help the young and the old. I am very chary about picking out the young and the old. These are people who come between those two extreme age groups who also will suffer. Help should be given to those in need irrespective of their age.
I hope that the Government can make it possible for me to vote with them on Third Reading by accepting Amendment No. 1 which would restore the right of all people to enter these galleries free at least at certain times during the week, the month or the year.
§ Mr. van Straubenzee
I realise how very sincerely the arguments are held on both sides of the House. I start by reminding the House that we are talking about a free day, in whole or in part. We are not talking about a selective policy for admission of particular groups. I say that to my hon. Friend the Member for Louth (Mr. Jeffrey Archer) in particular, because I must not stray on to that point as there is a set of Amendments yet to come dealing with that. My hon. Friend will acquit me of discourtesy, I trust, if I do not go into detail into the question of differential charging or lack of charging for different groups for that procedural reason. I know that my hon. Friend will be following our proceedings and I undertake to deal as fully as I can with that aspect of the problem when we reach it.
We are discussing here whether it is appropriate and, if so, on what terms, for those trustees who wish it to be enabled to have a free day. We must start, and we have throughout started, by reminding ourselves that it is only a certain number of trustees who do. This is not inimical to the argument. I state it 309 as a fact. There are trustees who have stated in public their trenchant opposition to free days and no one on either side is desirous of forcing them against their will.
The practice of free days is not as widespread elsewhere as is sometimes thought, though it exists elsewhere. I should be the last to suggest that just because it does not occur elsewhere we should or should not do it. I just say as a fact that it happens.
I have, for example, enjoyed a visit to the Mauritshuis at The Hague which I personally would acclaim as the most elegant gallery I know in Europe. There is no free day there, though there is a day at half cost. I paid my first and enormously enjoyable visit to the Prado in Madrid where there is no free day.
Just because in Madrid and at The Hague they do not have a free day is no good reason why we should not have one. I simply say that it is not a widely universal operation in great galleries. I simply establish the fact that the idea that we, if we did not have a free day, would be totally out of step with all the other great galleries is not accurate.
§ Mr. Edelman
I am interested in the Under-Secretary's references to foreign galleries. Does he agree that the nature and quality of the attendances in those galleries is greatly determined by the fact that people have to pay? In short, and to use an anomalous term, the attendances tend to be middle class rather than to reflect the nation's image, precisely because there are charges.
§ Mr. van Straubenzee
I should hesitate to draw that conclusion based on several visits over several days. However, I am glad to say that on the occasions that I went to both galleries, the average age of those attending was remarkably low. That is why we have special arrangements which reflect that in the case of, for example, organised school parties. I am not saying that I believe that conclusions can be drawn from the charging provision, partially because in any case there was no method of comparison.
§ Mr. Jeffrey Archer
I had hoped that the hon. Member for Coventry, North (Mr. Edelman) would add to his list. I believe the vast majority of visitors to the galleries which he has attended and 310 which I have had the privilege of seeing are holidaymakers or visitors. What we are discussing are itinerant people in this country whom we wish to protect. I should like to find a way of charging visitors, but I do not know how to do it. We are here to protect those that live in this country.
§ Mr. van Straubenzee
I went to the two galleries that I have mentioned during the holiday season. I have not had the privilege of being there in the non-holiday season. For all I know, if one went there when "the filthy English" and "the rowdy Americans" were not in Madrid we should find civilised Spaniards enjoying the galleries there.
I remind my hon. Friend, who has given me a little of my argument, that a large proportion of visitors in at any rate the holidays months—the holiday season is being extended throughout the year—are visitors from overseas, for whom in respect of each visit the taxpayer is paying £1 a head.
I turn now to the proposal of the hon. Member for Coventry, North (Mr. Edelman) in Amendment No. 2. I undertook in Committee that we would have a sympathetic look at this problem. The hon. Member will agree that if we were to have a partial free time—an hour, say—administratively, and from the point of view of control, it would have to be at the end of the day. I am not trying to make excuses, because I hope that the hon. Gentleman will accept that I have tried to find the answer.
One of the difficulties is the variety of closure times. I had not appreciated, until I looked into it as a result of my undertaking, how great a variety there was. There is a considerable variety and they vary at different times of the year. My noble Friend is proposing to watch this suggestion closely. He will be reviewing it in association with the trustees and if it should be shown that administratively there comes a point of time in the day when it would make sense not to make a charge and that this, in the light of experience is the right way to proceed, then I have no doubt that in consultation with the trustees he will be happy to agree to proposals which are broadly of this nature.
311 I make it clear that this is only after a review and seeing how matters proceed. It cannot be other than on the administrative side. I see the hon. Member for Coventry, North nodding. I have attempted to see how we can help in a purely administrative sense at the end of the day.
Now we come to the major question. I accept and understand that all hon. Members who have spoken about this are against charges. Since, for the moment, I am the Minister, I accept total responsibility for the concept of charges. Against the background of charges there are very real doubts as to whether a free day is wise. My hon. Friend the Member for Beckenham (Mr. Goodhart) attempted to put me into the same slot as the gentleman in Whitehall in that famous phrase. The gentleman in Whitehall is entitled to a view. I do not think he necessarily knows best, but he is entitled to speak, just as others have spoken.
§ Mr. van Straubenzee
I am glad that I am being heard. I am entitled to say that the arguments against the free day suggestion, put for example by the hon. Member for Coventry, North and others and held by a number of trustees, are persuasive. Let me give an example. We heard a good deal about family parties. Almost everyone is agreed that if we have a free day it cannot be a Saturday. I do not think that any trustees, against a background of charging, are contemplating a free day on a Saturday, for obvious reasons. Self-evidently if there is a free day on a weekday the number of family parties who can take advantage of it is demonstrably limited, to put it no higher. Therefore, we have to think carefully about its wisdom.
My noble Friend has already agreed to proposals of a different nature from two sets of trustees. The House will know that the trustees of the Tate Gallery, from private funds available to them—I understand generous benefactions—will open the Gallery for two evenings a week for two hours free of charge. They do so against a background of having 312 accepted, unwillingly, their commitment to charges. There is no attempt on our part to stop this. It would be interesting to see how it operates.
The trustees of the National Gallery on the other hand have come up with a different proposal. They are proposing that on one day a week they shall open free and on two days a week they shall charge double. I must make it clear that that will still work on the basis of concessions to the young, the old and so on remaining at half price. I make that clear because I hope the House appreciates what it is that is proposed to be done. The trustees have accepted, again unwillingly, their responsibility for the money to be raised and at the height of the summer will be charging 40p as a standard charge.
It may be that this is regarded as a sensible scheme against a background of charges. To me it displays a woeful lack of understanding of the sort of people we want to enable to appreciate art. To have to free day in the middle of the week when it can only be enjoyed by a limited social group of people is the very negation of what we should be attempting to do. Frankly, the basis of this whole operation, which includes a massive increase in capital investment, is the much wider use of our treasures and to make them available to a far greater number of people. As an individual I believe that the National Gallery scheme is a very poor one indeed. Far from seeking to exert pressure upon the trustees, my noble Friend, although he has expressed his views strongly, will allow them to proceed and it will be interesting to see how it works.
Reference was made to a collection of a different nature, a much smaller collection in money terms. If the hon. Member for Greenwich (Mr. Guy Barnett) looks again at the estimates for the Wallace Collection and does not confine himself to the recurrent expenditure, but examines also the increases on capital account in the current financial year which do not come through moneys from the trustees, and if he reflects on the way in which the general body of the taxpayer is quite properly making, proportionately, a substantial contribution to that museum he will perhaps see how the 313 benefits of increased investment are being made available in many ways.
If we are to have this expansion, it is not unreasonable that a certain small segment of this additional expense should be borne by the user of the museum and gallery. If any museum and gallery trustees wish to have a free day it is right that they should do so, as the Tate and National Gallery trustees, to their credit, are doing—against the background of the proportion of charges with which they will produce.
That is why, apart from the narrow technical point, I believe it would be wrong to advise the House to accept the Amendment. I am not the least concerned about voting figures. It is well known that a substantial and high level group from this side of the House is absent on important business in Paris and it will be quite sufficient for us to be left do the donkey-work.
§ Mr. Strauss
We naturally regret that the Under-Secretary is unwilling to accept our Amendment. I am certainly not surprised, because throughout he has shown a strong prejudice against the idea which we think to be important, that every member of our community, rich or poor, however poor, should be able to visit our museums and galleries to see our national heritage of art, historic and scientific exhibits and that nothing should deprive people of that right.
The hon. Gentleman does not accept that principle and neither apparently does the Secretary of State. We believe that the whole idea of charging our public, for the first time for 200 years, to see the artistic possessions which are theirs, which have been given to them, in buildings which have often been given to them, too, is wholly wrong. It has been admitted once or twice by Ministers in discussing this matter that there may be a few people who will be debarred, because of poverty, from seeing these pictures and treasures. No one should be debarred; everyone should be able to see these things.
The only way of doing that is by a free day. The Under-Secretary said that other museums and galleries in the world which impose charges did not always have free days. But they usually do. Nearly all the big ones do, but whether or not they do is not important. We 314 do not necessarily want to follow what is happening abroad. The hon. Member suggested that we should follow what is happening in Moscow. Because they charge that was a good reason why we should charge, he said. We do not accept that. We say there is an overwhelming case for having, as do most national galleries of the world where there are charges, a free day.
The Government have argued against this, the Under-Secretary in particular, from the beginning. So determined is he that this proposal should be opposed that he has gone haywire in his arguments. I want to quote the argument he put forward in Committee on this which is utterly ridiculous. He chided us about these proposals and said about the Labour Party:Can one imagine a more middle-class argument than that—splendid for the leisured and splendid for those who do not have to work? Would it be splendid for those who labour at their bench to know that there is a free day available for those who can afford to take advantage of it? The only other group of people who could take advantage of it are school-children because they have school holidays, but I have sought to show how educational interests are to be safeguarded. I find it astonishing to have this proposal pressed by the Opposition when, self-evidently, it could apply to only a small number of people."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Standing Committee A, 29th February, 1972; c. 166.]If the hon. Member has any experience abroad he will know that the Louvre and other great galleries are more crowded on free days than on the days when people have to pay. There are hundreds of thousands of people who will take the opportunity available to them. There are a large number of married women who have free days or who can easily spare an afternoon to go to a gallery; there are the unemployed, the ill, those unable to work, the poorer section of the population who do not have work every day and who would be only too delighted to have the opportunity of going to the galleries.
It is these people, the worst-off in the community from a material point of view, who have the least material benefits, who should be enabled to enjoy the spiritual benefits available by visiting our museums and galleries. But the Under-Secretary of State says "No". He says that one of the reasons is that the proposal would benefit only a small number of middle class people. Even if the people who 315 benefited were only a small number of middle class people, that would not matter; but that is obviously untrue.
The Under-Secretary of State has told us that he has reluctantly agreed to the Tate Gallery's proposal. The hon. Gentleman does not like it because it makes an exception to the general rule which the Government have laid down. Clearly, the Minister believes in uniformity in everything. One of the hon. Gentleman's earlier arguments was that it would be ridiculous and wrong if there were one or two galleries allowing a free day and other galleries not doing so, and the Tate Gallery proposal offended his idea of correctness.
Uniformity is wholly unimportant and it may be undesirable. The hon. Gentleman does not like the Tate Gallery's proposal, although he has had to accept it because the Tate Gallery trustees said that if the proposal was not accepted the money would have to be found from other resources.
The hon. Gentleman detests the proposal put forward by the National Gallery. He opposes it but he says that he has accepted it. One of the reasons he did so was that he was fearful of the attitude of the trustees of the National
§ Gallery. He was afraid that if the Government did not accept the proposal, the trustees of the National Gallery would impose it and operate it whatever the Government thought, whatever financial penalty the Government chose to impose. It is for that reason more than any other that the Government reluctantly accepted the proposal by the trustees of the National Gallery.
The essence of the problem is whether special steps should be taken if we have to impose charges, which we deplore, to allow those who cannot afford to pay such charges, who may be just as anxious and eager to see our national heritage of art as anybody else, to enjoy free admission. If they are children, as many are, they are the most likely to benefit from visiting museums and galleries to see our treasures. Are we to take special steps within the framework of admission charges to galleries and museums to allow such people to visit them free? I say that that would be in the social interest, the public interest and especially in the interest of children. The Government say "No". We regret their decision and we will vote against it.
§ Question put, That the Amendment be made:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 192, Noes 196.319
|Division No. 338.]||AYES||[6.12 p.m.|
|Abse, Leo||Castle, Rt. Hn. Barbara||Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)|
|Albu, Austen||Chapman, Sydney||Ford, Ben|
|Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)||Clark, David (Colne Valley)||Forrester, John|
|Allen, Scholefield||Cocks, Michael (Bristol, S.)||Fraser, John (Norwood)|
|Archer, Jeffrey (Louth)||Cohen, Stanley||Freeson, Reginald|
|Archer, Peter (Rowley Regis)||Concannon, J. D.||Galpern, Sir Myer|
|Armstrong, Ernest||Conlan, Bernard||Garrett, W. E.|
|Ashton, Joe||Corbel, Mrs. Freda||Gilbert, Dr. John|
|Atkinson, Norman||Crawshaw, Richard||Ginsburg, David (Dewsbury)|
|Bagier, Gordon A. T.||Crosland, Rt. Hn. Anthony||Golding, John|
|Barnes, Michael||Cunningham, Dr. J. A. (Whitehaven)||Goodhart, Philip|
|Barnett, Guy (Greenwich)||Dalyell, Tam||Gourlay, Harry|
|Barnett, Joel (Heywood and Royton)||Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.)||Grant, George (Morpeth)|
|Baxter, William||Davies, Ifor (Gower)||Grant, John D. (Islington, E.)|
|Beaney, Alan||Davis, Terry (Bromsgrove)||Griffiths, Eddie (Brightside)|
|Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony Wedgwood||Deakins, Eric||Hamilton, James (Bothwell)|
|Bennett, James (Glasgow, Bridgeton)||de Freitas, Rt. Hn. Sir Geoffrey||Hamilton, William (Fife, W.)|
|Bidwell, Sydney||Dell, Rt. Hn. Edmund||Hannan, William (G'gow, Maryhill)|
|Bishop, E. S.||Dempsey, James||Hardy, Peter|
|Boardman, H. (Leigh)||Doig, Peter||Harrison, Walter (Wakefield)|
|Booth, Albert||Dormand, J. D.||Hattersley, Roy|
|Bradley, Tom||Douglas, Dick (Stirlingshire, E.)||Heffer, Eric S.|
|Broughton, Sir Alfred||Driberg, Tom||Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas|
|Brown, Robert C. (N'c'tle-u-Tyne,W.)||Dunn, James A||Hughes, Rt. Hn. Cledwyn (Anglesey)|
|Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan)||Dunnett, Jack||Hughes, Mark (Durham)|
|Brown, Ronald (Shoreditch & F'bury)||Eadie, Alex||Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen, N.)|
|Buchan, Norman||Edelman, Maurice||Hughes, Roy (Newport)|
|Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn)||Edwards, Robert (B[...]ston)||Hunter, Adam|
|Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)||Ellis, Tom||Jay, Rt. Hn. Douglas|
|Callaghan, Rt. Hn. James||Evans, Fred||Jenkins, Hugh (Putney)|
|Campbell, I. (Dunbartonshire, W.)||Ewing, Harry||John, Brynmor|
|Cant, R. B.||Faulds, Andrew||Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)|
|Johnson, Walter (Derby, S.)||Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)||Silkin, Hn. S. C. (Dulwich)|
|Jones, Dan (Burnley)||Moyle, Roland||Sillars, James|
|Jones, Gwynoro (Carmarthen)||Oakes, Gordon||Silverman, Julius|
|Jones, T. Alec (Rhondda, W.)||Ogden, Eric||Skinner, Dennis|
|Kaufman, Gerald||O'Halloran, Michael||Smith, John (Lanarkshire, N.)|
|Kelley, Richard||O'Malley, Brian||Spearing, Nigel|
|Kerr, Russell||Orme, Stanley||Spriggs, Leslie|
|Lambie, David||Oswald, Thomas||Stallard, A. W.|
|Lamborn, Harry||Palmer, Arthur||Steel, David|
|Lamond, James||Pannell, Rt. Hn. Charles||Stewart, Donald (Western Isles)|
|Latham, Arthur||Pardoe, John||Stoddart, David (Swindon)|
|Lawson, George||Pendry, Tom||Strang, Gavin|
|Leadbitter, Ted||Pentland, Norman||Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R.|
|Lee, Rt. Hn. Frederick||Prentice, Rt. Hn. Reg.||Thomas, Rt. Hn. George (Cardiff, W.)|
|Leonard, Dick||Prescott, John||Torney, Tom|
|Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)||Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)||Urwin, T. W.|
|Lipton, Marcus||Probert, Arthur||Varley, Eric G.|
|Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.)||Rankin, John||Wainwright, Edwin|
|McBride, Neil||Reed, D. (Sedgefield)||Walker, Harold (Doncaster)|
|McCartney, Hugh||Rees, Merlyn (Leeds, S.)||Wallace, George|
|McGuire, Michael||Rhodes, Geoffrey||Weitzman, David|
|Mackenzie, Gregor||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)||White, James (Glasgow, Pollok)|
|Mackintosh, John P.||Roberts, Rt. Hn. Goronwy (Caernarvon)||Whitlock, William|
|McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.)||Roderick, Caerwyn E.(Brc'n&R'dnor)||Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick|
|Mahon, Simon (Bootle)||Rose, Paul B.||Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)|
|Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)||Ross, Rt. Hn. William (Kilmarnock)||Williams, Mrs. Shirley (Hitchin)|
|Marsden, F.||Rowlands, Ted||Williams, W. T. (Warrington)|
|Mason, Rt. Hn. Roy||Sandelson, Neville||Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)|
|Meacher, Michael||Sheldon, Robert (Ashton-under-Lyne)||Woof, Robert|
|Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert||Shore, Rt. Hn. Peter (Stepney)|
|Mendelson, John||Short, Rt. Hn. Edward (N'c'tle-u-Tyne)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Milne, Edward||Short, Mrs. Renée (W'hampton, N.E.)||Mr. Joseph Harper and|
|Mitchell, R. C. (S'hampton, Itchen)||Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford)||Mr. Ernest Perry.|
|Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire)|
|Adley, Robert||Eyre, Reginald||Kirk, Peter|
|Amery, Rt. Hn. Julian||Farr, John||Knight, Mrs. Jill|
|Astor, John||Fell, Anthony||Knox, David|
|Atkins, Humphrey||Fenner, Mrs. Peggy||Lambton, Lord|
|Awdry, Daniel||Fidler, Michael||Lamont, Norman|
|Baker, Kenneth (St. Marylebone)||Fookes, Miss Janet||Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry|
|Baker, W. H. K. (Banff)||Fortescue, Tim||Le Merchant, Spencer|
|Balniel, Rt. Hon. Lord||Fowler, Norman||Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)|
|Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton||Fox, Marcus||Longden, Sir Gilbert|
|Benyon, W.||Gibson-Watt, David||Loveridge, John|
|Berry, Hn. Anthony||Gilmour, Sir John (Fife, E.)||McAdden, Sir Stephen|
|Biffen, John||Glyn, Dr. Alan||MacArthur, Ian|
|Biggs-Davison, John||Goodhew, Victor||McCrindle, R. A.|
|Blaker, Peter||Gower, Raymond||McLaren, Martin|
|Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S.W.)||Grant, Anthony (Harrow, C.)||Maclean, Sir Fitzroy|
|Body, Richard||Gray, Hamish||Macmillan, Rt. Hon. Maurice (Farnham)|
|Boscawen, Hn. Robert||Green, Alan||McNair-Wilson, Patrick (New Forest)|
|Bossom, Sir Clive||Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds)||Marten, Neil|
|Bowden, Andrew||Grylls, Michael||Maudling, Rt. Hn. Reginald|
|Bray, Ronald||Gummer, J. Selwyn||Mawby, Ray|
|Brewis, John||Gurden, Harold||Meyer, Sir Anthony|
|Brinton, Sir Tatton||Hall, Miss Joan (Keighley)||Mills, Peter (Torrington)|
|Brown, Sir Edward (Bath)||Hall-Davis A. G. F.||Miscampbell, Norman|
|Bruce-Gardyne, J.||Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury)||Mitchell, Lt.-Col.C. (Aberdeenshire,W)|
|Bryan, Sir Paul||Hannam, John (Exeter)||Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)|
|Buchanan-Smith, Alick (Angus, N&M)||Harrison, Brian (Maldon)||Molyneaux, James|
|Bullus, Sir Eric||Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye)||Monks, Mrs. Connie|
|Burden, F. A.||Havers, Michael||Monro, Hector|
|Butler, Adam (Bosworth)||Hawkins, Paul||Montgomery, Fergus|
|Campbell, Rt. Hn. G.(Moray & Nairn)||Hayhoe, Barney||More, Jasper|
|Carlisle, Mark||Higgins, Terence L.||Morgan, Geraint (Denbigh)|
|Carr, Rt. Hn. Robert||Hiley, Joseph||Morgan-Giles, Rear-Adm.|
|Cary, Sir Robert||Holland, Philip||Morrison, Charles|
|Chichester-Clark, R||Holt, Miss Mary||Murton, Oscar|
|Churchill, W. S.||Hordern, Peter||Neave, Airey|
|Clark, William (Surrey, E.)||Howell, Ralph (Norfolk, N.||Nicholls, Sir Harmer|
|Clegg, Walter||Hunt, John||Noble, Rt. Hn. Michael|
|Cockeram, Eric||Iremonger, T. L.||Normanton, Tom|
|Cooke, Robert||James, David||Nott, John|
|Coombs, Derek||Jenkins, Patrick (Woodford)||Onslow, Cranley|
|Oppenheim, Mrs. Sally|
|Costain, A. P.||Jennings, J. C. (Burton)||Orr. Capt. L. P. S.|
|Crouch, David||Jessel, Toby||Osborn, John|
|d'Avigdor-Goldsmid,Ma[...].-Gen.Jack||Kellett-Bowman, Mrs. Elaine||Owen, Idris (Stockport, N.)|
|Dean, Paul||Kershaw, Anthony||Page, Rt. Hn. Graham (Crosby)|
|Dixon, Piers||Kilfedder, James||Page, John (Harrow, W.)|
|Dykes, Hugh||King, Tom (Bridgwater)||Parkinson, Cecil|
|Emery, Peter||Kinsey, J. R.||Pink, R. Bonner|
|Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch||Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby)||Tugendhat, Christopher|
|Price, David (Eastleigh)||Simeons, Charles||Turton, Rt. Hn. Sir Robin|
|Prior, Rt. Hn. J. M. L.||Smith, Dudley (W'wick & L'mington)||van Straubenzee, W. R.|
|Proudfoot, Wilfred||Soref, Harold||Vaughan, Dr. Gerard|
|Pym, Rt. Hn. Francis||Spence, John||Waddington, David|
|Quennell, Miss J. M.||Sproat, Iain||Walker, Rt. Hn. Peter (Worcester)|
|Raison, Timothy||Stewart-Smith, Geoffrey (Belper)||Ward, Dame Irene|
|Ramsden, Rt. Hn. James||Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir M.||Warren, Kenneth|
|Rawlinson, Rt. Hn. Sir Peter||Sutcliffe, John||Weatherill, Bernard|
|Redmond, Robert||Tapsell, Peter||Wells, John (Maidstone)|
|Reed, Laurance (Bolton, E.)||Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)||Whitelaw, Rt. Hn. William|
|Rees, Peter (Dover)||Taylor, Robert (Croydon, N.W.)||Wilkinson, John|
|Ridley, Hn. Nicholas||Tebbit, Norman||Winterton, Nicholas|
|Roberts, Michael (Cardiff, N.)||Temple, John M.||Woodnutt, Mark|
|Roberts, Wyn (Conway)||Thatcher, Rt. Hn. Mrs. Margaret||Worsley, Marcus|
|Rost, Peter||Thomas, John Stradling (Monmouth)||Wylie, Rt. Hn. N. R.|
|Russell, Sir Ronald||Thomas, Rt. Hn. Peter (Hendon, S.)|
|St. John-Stevas, Norman||Thompson, Sir Richard (Croydon, S.)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES|
|Scott, Nicholas||Trew, Peter||Mr. Michael Jopling and|
|Mr. Kenneth Clarke.|
§ Amendment accordingly negatived.
§ Mr. Roland Moyle (Lewisham, North)
I beg to move Amendment No. 5, in page 1, line 8, at end insert:Provided that the admission charge payable in respect of any person in receipt of a National Insurance retirement pension or by any person in receipt of supplementary benefits shall not exceed one penny.
§ Mr. Speaker
With this Amendment we are to take the following Amendments:
No. 4, in page 1, line 8, at end insert:But no such charge shall be made for the admission of any officially registered Guide of London.No. 6, in page 1, line 8, at end insert:Provided that the admission charge payable in respect of any person under the age of 16 years shall not exceed one penny.No. 15, in page 1, line 8, at end insert:Provided that no admission charge shall be payable in respect of any severely disabled person or by a person accompanying him. The definition of 'severely disabled person' for the purposes of this section shall be determined by the trustees or governing body on the advice of the Secretary of State for Health and Social Services.
§ Mr. Moyle
We are in enthusiastic support of Amendment No. 15 in the name of the hon. Member for Eastleigh (Mr. David Price). We argued the principle in Committee but on this occasion we will leave to him the pleasure of stating the case for it.
I am lost in wonder and admiration at myself and my right hon. and hon. Friends because of the determination with which we continue to press on the Government improvements to this nasty little Bill in spite of an almost complete lack of encouragement by the Government for 320 our efforts. The Government richly deserve to face the country with the Bill totally unamended so that the public may know where the true obloquy in this matter should rest.
This is the last and final attempt that we shall make to endeavour to wring some mercy out of the Government for disadvantaged sections of the community. What we seek is a 1p entrance fee for three classes of people who would like to use museums—children under 16 whether accompanied or unaccompanied, pensioners and those in receipt of social security payments at the time of seeking entry to the museum. Perhaps I should join with the hon. Member for Louth (Mr. Jeffrey Archer) and say that the Opposition are in favour of no charges at all but that if there is to be charging we are in favour of completely free entry for the classes I have mentioned and for many others. However, as we have argued those cases at various times at different stages but have failed to persuade the Government on each, we make this last attempt to persuade them to accept a 1p entry fee.
The Opposition are in a somewhat weaker position in argument than when the Bill was being discussed in Committee. In Committee we were trying to apply Conservative principles and to encourage the Government to apply their own principles to the situation. That was some months ago and Conservative principles are not now as easily discerned as they were last winter. We are now forced to appeal to the Under-Secretary, if he has any sense of nostalgia or any regard for auld lang syne, to advise his colleagues to meet us on this matter. It will be readily appreciated that an appeal to mood does not have 321 the same strength and foundation as an appeal to principle.
There are now 7½ million people in receipt of a State retirement pension, a substantial section of the population, for one in seven are now above the age of 65. Despite the best attempts of many Governments, there is no doubt that the retirement pension is not sufficient to maintain a high standard of living, and that we all regret. When extra earnings beyond the pension are limited to £7.50 a week and with the present rates of inflation going ahead, the State retirement pension, even with the increase which is coming and with the extra which may be earned, is so small that any increase is bound to create a serious financial problem for those concerned.
At the same time as straitened means, retirement brings psychological problems. I remembered the colourful way in which the Under-Secretary told us how he had been advised to prepare for retirement at the age of 50 and how, when he had realised that he was already 48, he felt limp.
§ Mr. Moyle
He will readily appreciate that the retirement pensioner who at 65 gives up employment and making a contribution to the community often has to face a life of idleness and is psychologically not in a particularly good position to face a number of problems. One of the things that we can do is to encourage pensioners to undertake hobbies and interests in order to fill up what would otherwise be a fairly empty life. The letter mentioned by the hon. Member for Louth illustrated the point remarkably well.
One of the ways in which retired people may spend their leisure time is in visiting museums and art galleries. Given the basic financial situation of the average pensioner at 65, there is no doubt that any extra charges on any activity act as a deterrent to undertaking that activity. That will apply to museums and art galleries as much as to anything else.
The problem will increase, because life expectancy is increasing and the health of the population generally, even at 65, is improving. On top of that, the social mores encourage people to enjoy leisure to a much greater extent. So the prob- 322 lem will increase and more people will face it.
Under the Government's proposals, I believe that a 5p charge will be levied on retired persons for entry to museums and art galleries. If that is so, I do not see how it can be administratively any more complicated to levy 1p than 5p. On those grounds alone I would expect the Government to concede our case in view of our appeal to their humanity.
The case for people on social security benefits, the second group we are considering, is very similar, particularly at this time. We have a substantial body of unemployment, higher than at any time since before the last world war. There is increasing long-term unemployment and many people are moving from the wage-related unemployment benefits to social security, which is a much less happy way of being unemployed than receiving the unemployment benefit. At that moment of psychological shock such people will find that the Government are levying charges on them for entry to museums and art galleries. The charges will be a financial deterrent, particularly for the large family which, even if it has full earning capacity, is drawing social security benefits. I refer to the poor, large family, which is particularly afflicted with such problems. I am thinking of a mother and father and three, four or five children wishing to go to a museum or art gallery. The charge will be substantial, perhaps 70p, which is bound to be a deterrent to a family at rock bottom, drawing social security benefits and least able to afford that sort of pleasure. The Government should meet our case on this point, because such families are in a severely disadvantaged position.
Finally, we come to persons under 16. Here the argument is slightly different. I suppose that the Government's defence will be that there is provision for students to go to museums by appointment and that there is provision for organised parties to be taken round provided notification is given. I suppose that all of us, apart from my hon. Friend the Member for Smethwick (Mr. Faulds), can recall that when we were required to study Shakespearean plays in school the consequence was that we never read them 323 for years afterwards. It may well be that taking organised parties of schoolchildren round museums will not have the effect of encouraging the study of our culture, our art and the other treasures in our galleries that a purely individual approach to museums would have.
What the Government are missing by their arrangements is the element of spontaneity, which is very important to young people. Many young people do not have a particular idea in their head one minute but a minute later are seized with an idea of something they want to do. That idea may well be to go to a gallery or museum straight away. Here again we are dealing with a group that is perennially short of money. The entrance charge which the Government insist on imposing could prove a serious deterrent to young people, because they cannot take advantage of a spontaneous desire to go to a museum or art gallery at the time when that desire is felt. That may deter them from taking an interest in museums and art galleries, from developing an interest in a line of culture, a line of painting or something of that sort that they would otherwise develop. It is a distressing situation into which the Government have brought that group of people in introducing this wretched little Bill.
There is one thing the Under-Secretary can do if he wants to persuade us that what the Government are doing is correct. He should be able to provide us with the financial calculations as a result of which the 5p charge was arrived at. If it was decided to make a concession in charging less than the 10p, how was 5p arrived at as the appropriate figure? How is it that 5p is so important a matter that a 1p charge cannot be conceded? To have the financial calculation would be a great help to anyone on this side of the House who is still struggling to understand the Government's thinking in introducing the Bill.
In view of the Government's determined resistance to all the Amendments, particularly the humanitarian Amendments which we are seeking to make, I am beginning to suspect that financial considerations have little to do with the matter. I am beginning to believe more and more strongly that those who control the activities of the Government 324 in this matter—I am not necessarily saying that they are in this House—are of the view that the old, the young and the poor are a pretty dreary, dependent sort of group, probably an uncultured lot as well, and that it is better to exclude them from the galleries and museums, so that people whom they imagine to be—
§ Mr. Jeffrey Archer
With great respect, I suggest that that is not fair. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Social Services has done more in two years for the young and old than the Labour Party dreamed of in six years.
§ Mr. Moyle
We are considering not the problems of social security but the origins of the Bill, which comes from an entirely different Department of the Government. We have pressed our Amendments over and over again in Committee, on Second Reading and again today, getting nowhere, though it is obvious that there is considerable support for our arguments. Indeed, I suspect that many Government supporters approve of our approach. Therefore, we must start looking for alternative solutions to the problem. If the cap does not fit, it is open to the Under-Secretary to deploy his arguments on the matter and seek to establish his case to our satisfaction. But my suspicion about what is behind the Bill is growing stronger as our debates continue.
Is it not remarkable that when the Government have money to hand out to relieve disadvantaged groups there is a substantial and careful means test? Pennies are weighed against shillings here and shillings there, until at last the sum which it is appropriate to give is handed out, after a very careful and prolonged calculation. But when it comes to taking money from people in the Bill, it is done on a broad, sweeping principle. There is no balance of advantage or disadvantage, no consideration of the financial difficulties of the various groups concerned, except in the broadest possible way. That is very significant of the Government's whole approach to the problem. Surely the reverse attitude is the proper one for them to adopt.
We support Amendment No. 15, and our good wishes go to the hon. Member for Eastleigh who tabled it. We shall listen to what he says with great care. 325 But perhaps I may relieve the Under-Secretary's mind by saying that we feel that the whole matter of this group of Amendments is one for the Government's humanitarianism. If they cannot see their way to assisting the disadvantaged groups of people concerned to a greater extent, they must accept responsibility for that before the people of the country. We hope that our appeal on humanitarian grounds can succeed, but if it fails we shall not divide the House.
§ Mr. David Price
The hon. Member for Lewisham, North (Mr. Moyle) will forgive me if I do not join him in discussing the pros and cons of Amendments Nos. 4, 5 and 6. That, I am sure, will be a great relief to the whole House. I shall limit my remarks to my Amendment No. 15. The hon. Member was kind enough to give me a clear run on it, so it will be only fair to him if I concentrate on it.
Amendment No. 15 again raises the question of the disabled, and I make no apology for that. In it, I ask thatno admission charge shall be payable in respect of any severely disabled person or by a person accompanying him".I realise that this matter was discussed in great detail in the Standing Committee so I shall not go over the general argument when deployed.
I hope that the whole House will agree that disabled citizens should receive special treatment in respect of admission charges, and I ask it to remember that the disabled citizen suffers two obvious disadvantages. The first is his disability, for which society can never adequately compensate him. The second is his economic disabilities. These take form on both sides of the balance sheet. Life is more expensive if one is severely disabled; I can assure hon. Members from my own experience that there is no doubt about that. Life is more expensive. Secondly, if one is fortunate enough to have had the sort of training which means that one's disability does not entirely preclude one from earning, one's potential for earning, given whatever talents one has, is substantially less. One would think that for those two reasons there was a very strong case for giving special treatment to the disabled.
With all respect to those right hon. and hon. Members who in Standing Com- 326 mittee moved Amendments on very much the same lines, I think that my Amendment has technical merit over some of theirs. I wish to draw the attention of the House and particularly that of my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary to what I think in all modesty are the merits of my wording.
First, the wording includes all the disabled, not simply those in receipt of constant attendance allowance or those identified by local authorities under Section 1 of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act, 1970. It is all-embracing. I know that in Standing Committee my hon. Friend made quite a bit of the difficulties of these problems of definition. I would also point out in passing that those in receipt of what I call "Mark I" constant attendance allowance are, of all the severely disabled people, probably the least able to go to the museums and art galleries. It is those who are less disabled who are most likely to want to go and to be able to go.
The House will note that my wording includes the disabled citizen and a person accompanying him, but I plead very strongly that it is not just the very severely disabled person who needs someone with him but also those whom I call the active disabled, those who are severely disabled but manage on their own, because the whole approach in modern rehabilitation is to try to get the person in the wheelchair to be independent and not to be restricted because of access, and so on. If our earlier discussion bears fruit and access is improved in our galleries and museums, we will reach a situation, I hope, where the wheelborne citizen will be able to go to a museum or gallery without attendance or help. It is therefore important in regard to charges that we should draw the definition wider. This is my objection to the constant attendance definition.
Again, my Amendment deals with the difficult problem of defining disability. It does so by the very simple device of leaving it to the trustees of each institution to define the severely disabled—with, of course, the proviso that they can get assistance from the Department of Health and Social Security. I believe that we have a very strong precedent in another 327 field to give us confidence that this definition would work. I refer to the special arrangements which are made by many local authorities for disabled drivers, and I will give an example in London.
We live in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. There the local authority gives any disabled driver parking privileges. The question of defining who is a disabled driver affords, as far as I can see, no difficulty to the borough. Further, and this is very important, the disabled driver is exempt from all parking charges. One knows that when parking meters were first introduced they were a matter of controversy.
I therefore submit that in the case of parking for the disabled the two things that I have been pleading for in relation to museums and galleries are established and are working and that Amendment No. 15 would apply to museums and galleries exactly what is working now by way of parking privileges for the disabled. So I believe that the difficulties of definition which the Standing Committee found would vanish if my hon. Friend were to accept my Amendment.
For these three reasons, therefore, I ask that my very modest proposals be acted upon. If my hon. Friend says, as he said earlier, that this is an enabling Bill and that therefore we do not want to incorporate these words into it but that the spirit of my Amendment will be applied, I shall be quite satisfied. Holy Writ tells us that he who asks shall receive. I have asked on behalf of the disabled: I wait expectantly to receive on their behalf.
§ Mr. John Fraser (Norwood)
I regard this Bill as one of the meanest and most petty of the Session. Some of the other Measures have been expropriation, but this Bill is just mean and petty.
I want to restrict my remarks to the question of the access to museums and art galleries by the young on an individual basis. It is no use saying that school parties can go in free, for what really matters is that a child who has gone in a school party to a museum shall go back again on his own initiative; something has inspired the imagination and enriched the child's mind, and he wants to go back in his own time on 328 a Saturday or Sunday and so benefit from what he has learned at school.
We know that no matter how dedicated our teachers may be or how good our schools, there is a financial and cultural poverty which prevents our educational system from achieving what it should. We are constantly faced with the problem of under-achievement by children as a result of environmental deprivation and the financial deprivation of the family, and very often we are seeking to construct an edifice which lacks a foundation either in the school or in the community from which the child comes. In many areas there is multiple deprivation.
The evidence of deprivation preventing achievement at school is now overwhelming. This is particularly true amongst the working class whose members, cut off from the traditional links with culture, come into the city centres. I do not speak here of culture in any airy-fairy sense; I refer to links with tradition. This results most frequently from migration. Whether as a result of industrial revolution or unemployment, people come from one environment to another. They also come from the Commonwealth. These people are cut off from their culture and tradition.
What is needed is a stimulus and motivation to back up what is provided at school. Very often it is simply an absence of books and periodicals in the home that holds back the child from reaching full achievement in school. In a wider sense it results from a lack of stimulus in the community outside, and we have to try and build links between the school and the outside world.
Here we have one working-class inheritance and tradition, and that is free admission to museums and galleries. This is one tradition we have kept. I can remember, as a kid in South Kensington, wandering round the museums from one to another, not going to one for a day but going into the Natural History Museum, the Geological Museum, the Science Museum and the Victoria and Albert, going on from one to another until I found something of interest. It is that culture, that tradition, which is being removed by the Bill. I want to see children going to museums virtually free.
It may be that at first the child is bored, but then he finds something of 329 interest. It may be a dinosaur or a dinosaur's eggs in the Natural History Museum, it may be a pendulum in the Science Museum, but he finds something that fires his imagination. That will have its effect in the classroom, because his imagination is stimulated and he has a motivation. Every educationist agrees that there has to be motivation in the child. Indeed, the Department of Education knows this and has the schemes of compensatory education in the priority areas and the urban aid schemes. Under urban aid schemes children are taken on projects to museums; they are taken on projects to the seaside. They are taken because the children do not do these things for themselves.
By this Bill the Government are excluding the chance of children achieving their own stimulus and firing their own imaginations by going to museums. A secretary of State for Education who does not allow virtually free admission of children on their own initiative to museums does not deserve the name of Secretary of State for Education but deserves the title, which I think has been earned by this Bill, the title of Treasury bailiff.
§ Mr. Jeffrey Archer
I rise again to say that I feel that this Amendment is another compromise. I do not understand the weird rules of the House which make it necessary for something which has failed in Committee to come in the flimsiest of disguises to the Floor of the House. This 1p charge is a flimsy disguise. Lest my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary should misunderstand my intentions, I am against charging. I think that 10p was wrong. I think the Opposition are wrong. I did not have the opportunity to say so in Committee.
Suffice it to say that I once again thank my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary for bringing the amount down from 10p to 5p. In that, I feel, I played a small part. I wish it had been brought down from 10p to nothing. Perhaps my hon. Friend even tonight will tell the hon. Member for Lewisham, North (Mr. Moyle) that he is wrong, that 1p is wrong. Perhaps the Under-Secretary will say he is going to bring the amount down to nothing. That would please me, and it would also make the hon. Member for Lewisham, North look wrong.
330 I cannot add a great deal to the comments by the hon. Member for Norwood (Mr. John Fraser) because he covered much of what I would have said about education. There is a great deal to be said for the dropper-in, for the casual finder of a museum. That was well expressed by the hon. Member for Norwood. I say that because I sincerely believe that we must have on the record a Conservative who believes this lest at any time people believe that the Bill was a totally party political thing and that people on this side of the House did not feel as strongly about it as do some Members on the Opposition side. I know that my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary will do me the courtesy of remembering the letter I wrote him and I do not find it necessary to read it out again.
In my opinion, there is no excuse whatever for making the old pay the charges. The people who have the most spare time and the least money are the people the Government have decided to hit hardest. If this is what Conservative caring for is about, and at the last election I thought we did care, I made a bad mistake.
I approve the depth of the feelings of my hon. Friend the Member for Eastleigh (Mr. David Price) but I do not dare add to his eloquent speech. He speaks on that subject with knowledge unrivalled in this House and it would be impertinent of me to try to add to his speech.
In the earlier debate my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary said, and I do not doubt he will bring it up again, that the old and the young can have special cards and buy season tickets, that they will be able to get in as often as they like at a considerably cheaper rate. I accept that, but this does not allow for the casual person who suddenly discovers that he has arrived at a gallery and would like to go in. The special card or season ticket procedure demands that a person queues up and fills in a form. It does not allow a person, old or young, simply to go into a gallery.
There are those on this side of the House who think that this is wrong. What I am getting at is this. As the hon. Member for Norwood said, freedom of admission is a privilege in this country. It is a privilege worth keeping. An hon. 331 Member in the last debate laid emphasis on what was not done in other countries and said that we should not do it. I would say that the frightening question is, what comes after museum charges? Are we to have library charges next? I would oppose the Government on that as well. They brought in the milk charge. Is the next step the library charge? We must be careful. Men on this side of the House must stand up and say that we will not support that at the next stage and that it must not be allowed. We on this side of the House must fight again and again to hold back from this sort of charge, for one reason and one reason only: this is a civilised standard we have set, and the fact that other countries do not have it does not mean that we should become uncivilised as well.
I support the hon. Member for Lewisham, North; I support my hon. Friend the Member for Eastleigh. I want my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary to know that there are no circumstances in which I could support the Bill because of the Clauses and Amendments now being discussed.
§ Mr. William Hannan (Glasgow, Maryhill)
Those of us who have heard the hon. Member for Louth (Mr. Jeffrey Archer) on this topic before will want to agree with him, and I personally congratulate him on the tenor of his remarks. His sincerity is quite obvious and I do not want to embarrass the hon. Gentleman. I hope that the Under-Secretary will refer to the remarks with which the hon. Gentleman has just concluded.
I listened with sympathy to what the hon. Member for Eastleigh (Mr. David Price) had to say, but it appeared at one point that he was using against the argument of my hon. Friends the reductio ad absurdum argument to bring our proposals into disrepute.
The Bill is a small, shabby, niggling Bill which will raise less than £1 million, and what the Under-Secretary and the Government have undergone in this process is nobody's business.
I want to dwell on the proposal as it affects old people. There are 7½ million pensioners, as my hon. Friend the Member for Lewisham, North (Mr. Moyle) said. One of my own friends, when he retired on his national pension and his 332 own superannuation, said he was about to enter upon the best job he had ever had—that of retirement; he was now going to have time in a constructive fashion to do those things which throughout his lifetime he had wanted to do. Considering all that was said in the speeches at the two parties' conferences during the last two weeks, speeches about the better quality of life, I should have thought that here was a constructive opportunity for the Government to do something about it. The hon. Member for Louth could help them in selling to the community, including the retired community, the advantages of greater use of our museums and galleries.
In an earlier debate the Under-Secretary of State seemed to express horror that the taxpayer should be asked to foot the bill. My response to that is to ask "Why not?" If the local ratepayers of Glasgow and many other of our good cities can provide these facilities on the rates, with free entry, and with as good a showing of French paintings as can be seen anywhere else in the country, why should they not do so? Why impose a miserable charge like this and make a visit to a museum or gallery into a hardship for so many people?
I am encouraged to go further in this argument because of the Question addressed to the Prime Minister by the hon. Member for Aylesbury (Mr. Raison). He asked the Prime Minister whether his attention had been drawn to the publication "Social Trends", in which it was pointed out that a contributory factor to present-day unemployment was the decreasing amount of time needed to produce the same amount of goods. The argument is that if in future we are to have increased leisure, with increased holidays and shorter working weeks, is it not part of our social policy to encourage people to employ their leisure in an attractive and reasonable fashion rather than merely provide more in the way of the candy-floss society—beer, betting and bingo?
The Government, by forcing through this tawdry little Bill, are thwarting the best efforts of our social workers and others who accept the point of view I am trying to express. We on this side are in principle against any charges, but if there must be charges it is surely not too 333 late to make an exemption in the case of the retired and for the Government by deliberate action to encourage retired people to direct their attention to a greater degree to the facilities available to them, thus employing their leisure in a constructive fashion.
§ Mr. Joseph Harper (Pontefract)
I wholeheartedly support the Amendments. We have been discussing the Bill since 17th February. It came out of Standing Committee on 16th March. As time went on, we on this side were hoping that the Government had decided to drop the Bill altogether. We had high hopes a month or two ago that that would be so. Unfortunately, it has come back to life and we are stuck with it.
Every conceivable argument has been adduced against the Bill from both sides of the House. The hon. Member for Louth (Mr. Jeffrey Archer) has made two fine and important speeches today. These Amendments deal with the old, the young—the very young—and the disabled. I endorse everything that the hon. Member for Eastleigh (Mr. David Price) said about the disabled. I come from the coal mining industry, which has far above the normal ratio of disabled in the working population. I also endorse what the hon. Gentleman said about disablement being expensive. No one without practical experience knows just how expensive disablement is.
In Committee I got the impression that the Under-Secretary of State—he is only doing what he is told—did not accept the Amendment concerning the admission of the disabled which we had then tabled because if we allowed the disabled free entry the question arose of whether the person taking a disabled person in should be charged or whether that person get in free as well. If that is the only barrier to accepting the principle of free entry for the disabled, as far as I am concerned both the disabled person and the person accompanying him should get in free, because the person accompanying him is doing a service in enabling that disabled person to visit a museum or gallery.
With regard to retirement pensioners, especially those on supplementary benefit, who are by and large the worst-off group of pensioners, I would agree more with the hon. Member for Louth. As I have 334 said, we on this side would prefer no charges at all, but once we start to make charges and part charges we begin to differentiate. But differentiation in effect projects the concept of the second-class citizen. I am against that. I was not very popular for it but I was against old people having to go through a special gate at a football match in order to get in at a reduced price. The same applies to concessionary fares. The same principle applies more recently to the question of television licences. All hon. Members have been inundated with requests to try to get the television licence for a retired person down to 5p. I deplore the whole system but the fact remains that until we get proper pensions for old people—I am not being political, because none of us has done enough, however much we have shouted at elections—we have to rely on fringe benefits in order to make the lot of the old person a little more comfortable.
There are over seven and a half million old-age pensioners. Not all of them want to visit museums and galleries, but many of them do. The hon. Member for Louth quoted a letter from a constituent aged 83 who deplored the Bill. I deplore the fact that we are now going to charge, especially for old people.
But even more important than the old people in this context, important as they are, are the young because they are the citizens of the future. When we get topside of 40—I am quite a bit older than that—we begin to deplore the fact that our kids are not as good as we were, despite all the evidence to the contrary. We condemn them for their long hair and their clothes. We are apt to say that they are not deserving. Of course, Socrates said it in the fourth century before Christ, so the idea is not quite correct.
I, too, have a letter here. I shall not quote it because it is rather long. It is well written and it starts, "Dear Joe", so that indicates that the writer knows me. He had read one of the Standing Committee Reports and wanted to acquaint me of his experience in this matter. This young man left school at the age of 16. He went to work in a factory but did not like that overmuch, so he left to work in a brewery. [Laughter.] It seems facetious but it is true. One of his jobs at the brewery was to take deeds to the local solicitors in Birmingham for signature. He was often told by the solicitors, "You 335 can come back in half an hour for the deeds."
On one of these trips he saw an art gallery. Not knowing anything about these matters and in order to pass the time, he went in because it was free and it was also warm. There he was so captivated by the paintings that he started taking an interest in art, culture and history. Now he is the head of a college department. What is more, he is studying assiduously for an Open University degree. All that happened because he saw an art gallery which did not charge for admission.
My correspondent makes the point that he, like so many of us, has visited art galleries in Florence, Amsterdam, Paris and elsewhere, adding the important reminder—which is the nub of our discussion—that if he had been an Italian, a Dutchman or a Frenchman he would still be working in the brewery because in all those countries charges are made for admission to galleries and museums and he would not have gone in when he had that time to spare.
It is all very well for the Under-Secretary to state as part of his case that other countries make charges. So what? I have always thought that in this respect at least we were one up or even two or three up on other countries and that eventually, if we were to continue with no charges, especially when we got into the Common Market, they themselves might eliminate charges.
No one who has never been culturally deprived knows what it really means. In other words, if one has never been hungry one does not know what it is to suffer from hunger. This is a different kind of hunger but it is nevertheless a hunger. I hope that the Under-Secretary of State, after the many weeks we spent in Committee on this problem and in view of the fine speeches made from his own side of the House, will now decide to accept these Amendments.
§ Mr. Alfred Morris (Manchester, Wythenshawe)
These are extremely important Amendments. As the House knows, I have a deep personal interest in the purpose of Amendment No. 16. The hon. Member for Eastleigh (Mr. David Price) has made an eloquent submission in its support and in support also 336 of Amendment No. 17. The hon. Gentleman is informed by personal experience of the problems of severe disablement in his own family. Few of us on either side of the House can speak with more feeling about the importance of the Amendments.
All of us on both sides have declared our intention to allow the severely disabled to live more normal lives. Let us not now depart from the purpose we expressed in enacting the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act, 1970. Those of whom we speak in Amendments Nos. 16 and 17 are the blind, the deaf, the dumb or those who are otherwise permanently and substantially handicapped, by reason of illness, injury or congenital deformity.
The Under-Secretary must know that every organisation working for the welfare of severely disabled people wants to see this group of Amendments succeed this evening. I appeal to him to consider carefully the arguments which have been adduced from both sides of the House.
The hon. Gentleman has heard a strong and compelling case from two of his hon. Friends, namely, the hon. Member for Eastleigh and the hon. Member for Louth (Mr. Jeffrey Archer). Very little public money is involved in conceding their case. However, a great deal of happiness is involved for a large number of people in contemporary Britain. I feel sure that the hon. Gentleman will want to respond constructively to the powerful case which has been made from all parts of the House. I hope that he will not let the House down by resisting these Amendments.
§ 7.15 p.m.
§ Mr. van Straubenzee
I gladly respond to the spirit of the speech made by the hon. Member for Manchester, Wythenshawe (Mr. Alfred Morris) and I hope that, in part at least, when I have completed my remarks it will be felt that I have tried to respond.
There are four groups of people about whom we are talking in this debate. No mention has been made of those referred to in Amendment No. 4, but I shall mention them in a few moments. I am now referring to those mentioned in Amendment No. 5. I feel strongly about one group of people in this category in an absolutely contrary sense to the view 337 expressed by the hon. Member for Lewisham, North (Mr. Moyle). I refer to those on supplementary benefit. In Committee the hon. Gentleman was generous enough to concede that to seek to make persons on supplementary benefit identify themselves ran contrary to the general stream of all we have tried to do on both sides of the House about these benefits.
One of the advantages of the proposals in the Green Paper issued by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer is that they are one further move in the same direction, and I find this a very attractive attitude. To envisage that entry to a museum or gallery should be reduced, in this case, to 1p for people who, perhaps for a short period of time, shall identify themselves as receiving supplementary benefit is quite unacceptable to me, and I am sure that it would be unacceptable to my hon. Friend the Member for Louth (Mr. Jeffrey Archer). I cannot believe that that is right and I am sorry that this idea has been persevered with since I believe that it is a wrong judgment.
I appreciate that there is an argument in respect of the retirement pensioner. Although there is no rule never to alter the situation, it has been our general practice to make concessions for the retired pensioner—concessions which are already in the proposed scheme, but not in the Bill because the Bill does not deal with them—and it has generally been our practice to make these concessions in other analogous fields by reference to a reduction.
Let us take as an example the bus fare. The hon. Member for Lewisham, North did not do himself justice by his unhappy suggestion that the object of these charges is in some way to keep out old people. This was an unreasonable allegation and, on reflection, I do not think the hon. Gentleman will want to pursue it. Nobody suggested that the system of charging on buses was designed to keep old people off buses. The object of the campaign for concessions for old people was the other way round. The object of that campaign was to give them benefits rather than to keep them off the buses or, as in this case, out of the galleries and museums; it was understood that their incomes were lower. But we must remember that the word "pen- 338 sioner" to-day embraces potentially the whole population. Furthermore, we did not give free bus fares, nor did we give free cinema provision; we gave concessionary rates. It is a matter of judgment whether one says that half price is reasonable or that the charge should be 1p.
We on this side of the House have shown our understanding of, and concern for, the old in making concerns which provide for a charge of 5p which, at the height of the season, represents a quarter price since in summer the costs for everybody else are very much higher. We have paid due observance to the circumstances by making a concession of half price. Therefore, it is not reasonable or consistent with what we have done in the past elsewhere to go any further.
I turn to the situation as it affects young people. I am conscious of my duties towards the young, and I feel these matters strongly. I am entitled to repeat that it is very important in educational terms that we have secured totally free entry—as was acknowledged, though not very graciously by the hon. Member for Norwood (Mr. John Fraser) for organised small parties.
§ M. John Fraser
The hon. Gentleman means that the Government have not taken anything away from those people.
§ Mr. van Straubenzee
There is completely free entry for organised parties and all the best evidence from the Inspectorate, who have no axe to grind, is that this is the right way to approach the matter. Indeed, I wish to see it greatly extended. As I said in Committee, one of the great difficulties in terms of the constrictions on space and building at present is that we dare not harness all that is available to us in educational and other terms—for example, through the media of radio and television. This is a powerful reason for getting on with the immense building programme now under way.
We have rightly watched the educational case in terms of the accredited students who are important persons in terms of specialised needs. That student is also catered for. Therefore, it is again a matter of judgment.
I wonder whether the hon. Member for Norwood is up to date about the 339 spending power of the modern young. When we talk about "half price" we must keep up with the times. I encouraged a little hostility in Committee when I went to look at the Science Museum. I looked at the price of ice cream being sold outside the museum and found, to my horror, that an ice cream cone, of which I am rather fond when I can get under the wing of my doctor, would have cost me 10p. Had I wanted to be a real devil and have an ice cream covered in chocolate flake, I would have had to pay 20p. I put this forward as background information, having when young entered into a competition and got myself up to 83 ice creams in one day. Therefore, in talking about the young—I am not referring to the rich young person but about working class children—we have to set the consideration against the charge of 5p, particularly when we have taken so much trouble on the strictly educational front.
§ Mr. John Fraser
If the hon. Gentleman does not understand that some children would rather spend 5p on an ice cream than the same sum on going into a museum, he does not understand the whole problem of compensatory education.
§ Mr. van Straubenzee
I understand it, but I also understand that a large number of people think that if a choice is to be made they do not think that they should underwrite it.
§ Mr. Jeffrey Archer
In my speech I tried to ask my hon. Friend how he accounted for the child who refused to pay 5p to enter a gallery or museum, but who if the charge did not exist might drift into a museum and discover what a silly boy he was not to have wanted to pay the 5p in the first place. That boy will not now drift into a museum because his stupidity will stop him doing so. We shall never allow his stupidity to become enlightened.
§ Mr. van Straubenzee
The answer in part—and I could not possibly cover every contingency relating to every person—will be an increasingly higher standard of education, in the sense that I hope we shall make use more and more of museums and galleries for instructional purposes. I believe that the silly 340 boy mentioned by my hon. Friend will increasingly have the impetus to go to a museum, and I am seeking to say that he will go at a charge of 5p. I appreciate that it is a matter of judgment. I do not see why, having made rightful provision for free entry in educational terms, it is reasonable for the general body of taxpayers to underwrite him totally. But I repeat that it is a matter of judgment.
Let us consider the third category, the disabled, about whom we have heard two powerful and effective speeches. The hon. Member for Pontefract (Mr. Harper) did not do me justice in terms of our discussions at an earlier stage. We had established that a person attending a disabled person in a chair did not pay, in the sense that it was unacceptable that a person needing to be pushed had to pay double. I was most anxious to find a way of assessing the situation in regard to the disabled, and I believe I was able to say that the method suggested in Committee, namely that of tying it to the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act was not an effective method of undertaking it. I think that both sides of the Committee thought it right in that sense. I hope that we have found a method of covering the situation which I hope will be understood.
Let us take as our base line the National Assistance Act, 1948, and I emphasise that what I am now going to say has no relation to National Assistance. If we take the definition in Section 29 of that Act, particularly the register, I know we have an ascertainable group. Furthermore, it has the advantage that it is wider than my hon. Friend's drafting. Indeed, I think that it is better. I say that with no arrogance, because I have been assisted in a way that he was not.
Would it be fair to place upon the trustees the responsibility of making decisions as between one disablement and another? On reflection, my hon. Friend may feel that would not be a very happy method.
Disabled people on that register will have the same concession as the other categories for whom we are making concessions—namely, the half or quarter price at the height of the summer months. For example, a person in a wheelchair 341 who needs someone to assist him will come in for the 5p standard charge and the person accompanying him will not have to pay.
I hope that displays the appropriate consciousness of our obligations to the disabled which I was asked to show. Of course, it will appear not in the Bill, but in the administrative arrangements. That is why technically I am rejecting the Amendment. I reject it because the Bill is not the right place. I am accepting the spirit of the Amendment and, I hope, going a long way to meet the lobby concerned which is a very powerful and proper lobby.
Lastly, I come to the Amendment standing in the name of my hon. Friend the Member for Tynemouth (Dame Irene Ward).
§ Dame Irene Ward (Tynemouth)
I did not quite understand why the Guides of London, who are paid, were being brought into the section dealing with all these very important people—the disabled, the old and the young. Therefore, I did not, in specific terms, move my Amendment. So, whatever my hon. Friend says, I warn him that if I catch Mr. Deputy Speaker's eye, I shall make my speech on the Guides of London. Perhaps my hon. Friend would then care to reply.
It seems most extraordinary that guides, who have nothing to do with the groups we have been discussing, should be included. I feel like Alice in Wonderland. Something has got up and hit me in the face. Therefore, perhaps my hon. Friend could leave that point, deal with these other important groups, and allow me to make my speech after that, because that is what I understood would happen. Of course, one is never quite certain in Parliament whether one understands things rightly or not. At any rate, I understood it wrongly, and I should like to make my speech about what my colleagues and I think about the Guides of London.
§ Mr. van Straubenzee
I am grateful to my hon. Friend for that explanation. Therefore, I shall make no reference to the Guides of London. If I meet no resistance from either the Chair or the House, I shall seek to answer my hon Friend specifically on that point.
§ Mr. van Straubenzee
I will discuss that more with my hon. Friend, but the ruin is in front of him for all to see.
I know this is a matter of argument, but I genuinely believe that we have done appropriately by the old and the young who are not going in educationally. I have sought to find, and tried conscientiously to find in Committee, an equally appropriate way in caring for the disabled in this respect.
§ Mr. David Price
Is my hon. Friend aware that I am grateful for what he has been able to do for the disabled? Although I was arguing for a nil charge, as he is charging 5p for the old, I think many of the disabled would feel it is appropriate that they should pay 5p, given the concession for persons accompanying them. However, we still look forward to the day when the old and the disabled get in free.
§ Dame Irene Ward
For a very long time there has been an all-party Committee attached to the House of Commons which is concerned with an important body known as the guides of London. The guides of London are remarkable people. They have to take very enlightening and difficult courses to qualify to be registered as guides. They have special badges and must have considerable qualifications. They have been a great asset in showing the treasures of London to tourists and other bodies, giving specific details of the treasures which we have to display.
The chairman of this Committee is my hon. Friend the Member for Dagenham (Mr. Parker). The Committee regularly meets the guides. We know of their interest, knowledge and enthusiasm. A great deal of their work is connected with foreign languages, which many of them speak.
As soon as the Bill was introduced and it looked as though it would become the law of the land, representations were made asking that the guides be precluded from having to pay when conducting parties into the various museums, galleries and buildings for which charges are made. 343 We were told that this would not be possible. This was met with great regret by those who have knowledge of the quality of the guides of London.
It seems most extraordinary that when a person has paid for courses, qualified, and become a representative of a body, for which those who employ the guides have to pay, the individual concerned should pay a museum and gallery charge. The Committee, which has a very good body of presidents and vice-presidents—I happen to be a vice-president representing my party—thought it most extraordinary.
A great deal has been said about what goes on in Europe. I understand that legitimate, recognised, qualified guides in Europe—of course, ours are registered under the tourism business—do not have to pay entrance charges. It seems to me most extraordinary that on this relatively small matter my Government, who were and are enthusiastic about entering Europe, should want to go contrary to the European system. But the British are never consistent. In my view, no Government are consistent. I think my Government can be as inconsistent as the Labour Government were. It seemed to us extraordinary that these highly qualified individuals, who were recognised as such by the tourist industry, and in respect of whom the tourist industry asked the Government to take action, should be expected to pay an entrance fee to museums and galleries.
We have continued to make our representations. On the last series of Amendments my hon. Friend was most helpful, for which I am very much obliged because I support what has been said about the disabled. I do not think that my hon. Friend would have left this group of people to the end if he had meant to say "No", because that would be bad psychology. Whether or not one agrees with my hon. Friend, on most subjects he is a pretty good psychologist. It is no good being in politics if one is not psychologist, and I therefore do not think that he would have left this group of people to the last if he was going to refuse our request.
I did not know that the Amendment was in my name. I happened to be looking at the Notice Paper to see what 344 Amendments had been tabled, and I noticed this Amendment in my name. I am delighted that somebody thought of putting it down. One never knows what is going to happen in this place and when I saw the Amendment I hoped that the House would excuse my not making a long speech because I cannot remember all the facts and figures anyway.
This is a good cause. We do not want the Guides of London to have to pay an entrance fee to museums and galleries. Those connected with the committees to which I have referred do not want these guides to have to pay this charge. The London Tourist Board does not want to have to pay the charge. Having got to almost the last group of Amendments my hon. Friend must be in a benevolent frame of mind, and I hope that he will accept my suggestion.
§ Mr. Alfred Morris
I join the hon. Member for Eastleigh (Mr. David Price) in acknowledging the concession which the Minister has announced for the severely disabled. This is a step forward, and I thank the Minister for his gesture, just as I congratulate the hon. Member for Eastleigh and my right hon. and hon. Friends for the pressure which they have exerted on the Government.
If there is any difficulty of definition of entitlement, the Minister may like to look at Section 28 of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act, 1970, which provides a means by which the Secretary of State for Social Services can resolve any difficulties of interpretation or definition arising from the provisions of Section 29 of the National Assistance Act, 1948.
I feel sure that the definition suggested by the Minister will work reasonably well and that his statement tonight will be widely welcomed by those who, in organisations throughout the country, work for the welfare of disabled people.
§ Mr. van Straubenzee
With your leave, Mr. Deputy Speaker, and that of the House, may I first thank the hon. Member for Manchester, Wythenshawe (Mr. Alfred Morris) for his kind references to me. To the best of my understanding the method suggested, tied to the register, with a statement to that effect, will be sufficient, but I am obliged to the hon. 345 Gentleman. I shall examine what he said in case it may go yet further towards tying the matter up.
The last thing that I have to answer is the speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Tynemouth (Dame Irene Ward), and I have to let her into a little secret. As the House knows, I am inexperienced as a Minister. I have here some notes which, as happens from time to time, say "Resist", but I must concede that I can no longer resist the case put forward by my hon. Friend. She has persevered admirably, and she did not do herself sufficient justice because she did not tell the House that during the Recess, and so on, she has continued the argument in correspondence. I speak as a junior Minister who has to sign quite a number of letters, and I can tell the House that there is no more persistent Member than my hon. Friend when she thinks she is on the right track on behalf of her constituents or for any other cause. I am therefore willingly prepared to make a change in this respect.
§ Mr. van Straubenzee
The administrative arrangements will follow consultation with the trustees, and the Government are prepared to propose that guides who are examined and registered by the London Tourist Board should be admitted free to museums and galleries on presentation of their registration card and official badge. Parallel arrangements will be made for Edinburgh and Cardiff.
The case has been made not so much on grounds of finance as on the status of and work done by these people. My hon. Friend has been very persuasive, and I willingly make it clear to her that what she wants in terms of the Amendment will be reflected in the arrangements to be made once the Bill becomes law.
§ Amendment negatived.
§ Mr. John Smith (Lanarkshire, North)
I beg to move Amendment No. 14, in page 1, line 24 at end insert:'and shall lay before Parliament a statement as to the views expressed by such governing body'.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker (Miss Harvie Anderson)
I think that it will be convenient if with this Amendment we take the following Amendments:
No. 12, in page 1, line 16 after 'State'. Insert:'and of the governing body concerned'.No. 13, in page 1, line 22 at end insert:Provided that the parties to any such contract trust deed or other instrument concur in such variation or revocation.
§ Mr. Smith
These Amendments relate to a part of the Bill which has not received as much attention in the House as the earlier part. They relate to subsection (2) of Clause 1.
Broadly, what the Government have proposed—and I put this forward as background material so that the House will understand the Amendments—is that the Secretary of State for Scotland should have power to make an order varying the provisions of a trust deed or other instrument which are inconsistent with the making of charges. This is an important principle and an attempt was made in Committee to amend the Bill.
The principal ground of objection put forward forcefully by the Opposition in Committee was that it was wrong for the Government to seek power to vary the provisions of contracts, trust deeds or other legal instruments which stipulated that a gallery given a gift should exhibit it free to the public. This is not an academic argument because, in the context of the National Gallery of Scotland, the Erskine of Torrie Collection and the Vaughan Bequest relating to the Turner pictures are both affected by this provision.
Amendment No. 13 seeks to put some restriction on the power of the Secretary of State for Scotland to make a varying order by saying that he should do it only with the consent of the parties to the legal instrument. What the Government are seeking to do is nothing less than legal vandalism. They are trying to tear up the provisions of trust deeds which lay down specifically that gifts are to be shown free to members of the public. This arbitrary power is a piece of legal destructiveness which will tear out of the provisions of legal instruments the very thing which the makers of gifts wished to see enshrined for posterity. 347 Many people make it a solemn condition of a gift that it is to be shown free. The Erskine of Torrie Collection lays down that the pictures are to be shown free and also that if they are shown with other pictures, they too should be shown free of charge. In this case, however, the Secretary of State takes power to destroy such a provision through exercise of his order-making power.
This will not apply merely to old bequests such as those I have mentioned. It would apply to any one making a gift now to the national galleries of Scotland. Any person who seeks to put a provision in a trust deed that a gift which he makes to the National Gallery shall be shown free to the public cannot rely upon that condition being put into effect by the trustees because the Secretary of State may at any time, in effect, tear up that condition.
This is a serious matter. It might well affect the attitude of people who might be disposed to make bequests of pictures to the National Gallery. It would be a most regrettable step if it had the effect of discouraging people from making such gifts. For instance, the owner of important works of art who wishes that they should be enjoyed by the public after his death may prefer to make his donation to a municipal gallery where his wishes would be respected rather than to the National Gallery where the Secretary of State can step in and tear up the provisions of his trust deed.
The Bill has been described on occasion as an enabling Bill. In many respects it is a disabling Bill. It disables the trustees from carrying out the conditions upon which their predecessors accepted many gifts. In the other place, my noble Friend Lord Gardiner said that he thought this provision in the Bill created a situation both illegal and dishonourable. It is certainly dishonourable to take powers to defeat the high public-spirited intention of people who make bequests to our National Gallery by giving the Secretary of State power to avoid the conditions in the relevant trust deeds.
It is a simple point. I am sure that there are many people who wish that the Government had not sought this power. But since they want to have 348 charges imposed at our national galleries, they had to take steps to vary the constitutions of the galleries. Then they came up against the problem of the trusts, and they had to take power to vary the trusts as well.
It has been said in the Government's defence that there is a precedent for what they propose to do. The Lord Advocate and I had a long argument about this in Committee. In my submission, there is no proper precedent for it. The precedents to which the right hon. and learned Gentleman referred—namely, certain provisions of the Education (Scotland) Act, 1962—are not apt because in that case it is clearly said that attention must be paid by the Secretary of State to the intentions of the people who made the bequests which are affected by that Act. There is no such qualifying provision in the present Bill.
Undoubtedly, this part of the Bill is repugnant to the trustees of our national galleries. In their 1971 report, the trustees of the national galleries of Scotland made clear their objection to what they call… the conditions of past benefactions … overruled by Order under the new legislation.Many of the trustees felt that they were being put in the position of being forced, by order of the Secretary of State, to dishonour provisions which they had accepted in respect of gifts made to them by many benefactors.
A great number of the pictures in our National Gallery arrived there by bequest rather than by purchase. I am sure that the trustees will feel that what the Government propose will be an impediment to their obtaining further bequests. I hope that that does not turn out to be the case, but I fear that it may.
Now that the Bill has reached this stage, the best that the Opposition can do is to try to insert a provision which will minimise the damage that is likely to be done. Amendment No. 13 is designed to do that by making it a condition of his exercise of the order-making power that the Secretary of State shall be able to proceed in that way only if the parties concerned concur in the variation or revocation. This would give the trustees some lever in their arguments with the Secretary of State.
349 Amendment No. 14 would require the Government to lay before Parliament a statement of the views expressed by a governing body when the Secretary of State proposed to make a change. One concession which the Government made in Committee was to allow a statutory consultation with the governing body of a gallery before making any change under the terms of a Bill. Since Parliament has power by negative resolution to overrule the Secretary of State and refuse legislative sanction to an order, it would be useful if it knew clearly what the trustees' views were before exercising its powers under the negative resolution procedure. If that were done, it would become clear that the trustees regarded this whole operation on the part of the Government as dishonourable and repugnant. The best the Government can do at this stage is to accept these Amendments.
I do not wish to say anything about Amendment No. 12. On reflection, I do not think that it is an important Amendment. But if the Government were prepared to consider Amendments Nos. 13 and 14 they would go a little way to minimise the dreadful damage which may be done by this part of the Bill. In many ways it is the worst feature of the Bill. It has encountered stout opposition from this side of the House and stout opposition from the trustees of all the galleries. It has been a little overshadowed by the question of charges themselves, but it is in itself a disgraceful provision which the House should not accept.
§ The Lord Advocate (Mr. Norman Wylie)
This short debate has followed the lines of our earlier debate in Committee. I note what the hon. Member for Lanarkshire, North (Mr. John Smith) said about Amendment No. 12. Amendment No. 13, as he well knows, would have virtually the same effect as one of the Amendments—Nos. 27 and 28, I think—which were discussed in Committee. Those Amendments related to the variation of trust deeds being prompted only at the initiative of the governing body, and the effect of Amendment No. 13, which would require the concurrence of the governing body, would be to produce the same result.
The hon. Gentleman must face up to the logic of Clause 1(2). He understands the position very well. Indeed, I thought 350 that he would make a complete concession and agree that the provisions in subsection (2) were necessary, standing the principle enunciated in subsection (1), since, as he said a moment ago, once the decision is taken to make museum and gallery charges, standing the fact that there are provisions in certain deeds, to some of which he referred, which conflict with that principle, some machinery must be evolved to deal with that conflict. This is as much in the interests of the governing bodies themselves as of anyone else, for if a governing body makes charges—or, as the hon. Gentleman would fairly prefer to put it, is forced to make charges as a result of Government policy in this matter—unless something is done to vary the conditions or, in certain cases, perhaps, to revoke them altogether, the trustees themselves would be open to criticism and, possibly, legal action. Some machinery must, therefore, be devised to deal with that conflict flowing from the principle enunciated in subsection (1).
Although, in his usual way, the hon. Gentleman wrapped up his proposals in such a way as to create the impression that they were only marginal in effect, they would, as he knows, completely destroy the machinery which subsection (2) sets out. If the governing body has to give its concurrence—I am referring now to Amendment No. 13—the Secretary of State is, in effect, precluded from taking the necessary action in respect of prior deeds which is required as a result of the decision to make museum charges.
The hon. Gentleman referred to our discussion in Committee on precedent. I am sorry that he adheres to the view that the precedent which was quoted is not a proper one. That is nonsense. The hon. Gentleman referred today, as he did in Committee, to what is set out in Section 118 of the 1962 Act and pointed out, as is the case, that, where educational endowments are being varied which are not related to grant aided colleges, the Secretary of State must have regard under subsection (2) to the wishes of the testator.
That is perfectly correct. We are not dealing here simply with funds. We are dealing here with museums and galleries, and the proper analogy is not Section 118 but the precedent that I quoted on Second 351 Reading and in Committee, namely, the precedent set by Section 81 of that Act as it was amended by the 1969 Act.
I do not wish to take up too much time, but I want to put this on record as a proper precedent which has received careful consideration in the light of all that was said on Second Reading and in Committee. Section 81 of the Education Act provided that the Secretary of State is given power in the case of grant-aided colleges to make regulations. The regulations which the Secretary of State is empowered to make cover a very wide field, a much wider field than that with which we are dealing. We are dealing in the Bill with museum charges and regulations which are required to vary prior deeds as a result of those charges. The regulations that the Secretary of State is entitled to make under Section 81 are very wide indeed and, for interest, include regulations about making provision with regard to fees and other payments.
The important analogy arises in subsection (4)(c) of that Section which says:Regulations made under subsection (1) . . may—(c) vary or revoke the provisions of any enactment (including any regulations under subsection (2) …), scheme, articles of association, trust deed or other instrument related to any grant-aided college to which the regulations apply, in so far as those provisions are, in the opinion of the Secretary of State, inconsistent with the regulations.That was the pattern on which this subsection (2) is based.
The draftsman drew this subsection from Section 81(4). The analogy is quite clear. It is true that in dealing with educational endowment funds in the ordinary way the Secretary of State must operate Section 118: he must have regard to the intentions of the testator. There are three grant-aided colleges and colleges of technology of which the governing deed is an endowment scheme under the Education Acts. In one case it is an Act of Parliament. In most cases it is a memorandum and articles of association registered under the Companies Act. In three cases—the Robert Gordon's Institute of Technology in Aberdeen, the Dundee Institute of Art and Technology, and the Paisley College of Technology, the governing deed is an endowment scheme.
In 1969 Parliament did not say that, if trust deeds are to be varied affecting 352 colleges which proceed on the basis of educational endowments, it must be done under Section 118. Parliament deliberately included in its definition those colleges which I have mentioned which are based on endowment schemes. For the purposes of varying or revoking these trust conditions, the Secretary of State is perfectly entitled to operate under Section 81 and ignore the provisions of Section 118.
Be that as it may, I say after due consideration, discussion and consultation, because no one would take lightly the kind of criticisms that have been repeatedly made about the proposition that I have sought to enforce, that this is precedented. I want to make it perfectly clear once and for all that the provisions of subsection (2) of the Bill proceed on the same kind of basis as the provisions of Section 81 of the Education Act, 1962, as it was revised in 1969, and the similarity in language alone is very pronounced. It is obvious where the draftsman drew his analogy.
There is only one difference which we incorporated in this legislation. We wrote in a statutory duty to consult. The right hon. Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Ross) and the hon. Member for Glasgow, Craigton (Mr. Millan), who was Under-Secretary at the time, repeatedly resisted the Opposition demands for this statutory right to be included in Section 81. I am not saying necessarily that the right hon. Gentleman was wrong. It may be that there was substance in the argument that was adduced that one does not write into Acts of Parliament what Governments do in any case. This was the argument that the Minister in the last Administration put forward.
However, for the avoidance of doubt in the matter and to make the Government's bona fides perfectly clear, we have incorporated a statutory duty to consult before the Secretary of State proceeds by making any orders under this legislation.
§ Mr. John Smith
So that we can give some validity to this proviso, may I ask whether it is the Government's policy that they will have genuine consultations with the governing body and they contemplate the position that, if a governing body puts good objections to the variation of its trust deed, the Government will 353 accept the recommendation of the governing body?
§ The Lord Advocate
The statutory provision is, in statutory form, what every Government, including the last one, exercising statutory powers of this nature always accept, namely, that there is consultation—proper consultation, certainly. It is not a rubber-stamping exercise.
The main purpose of consultation must be to satisfy the Secretary of State that he has properly identified the deeds that require variation. In many cases the governing body may be the only people who can assist the Government on this.
The only difference between these provisions and the provisions on which they were modelled is the one I have mentioned. I am not criticising the right hon. Member for Kilmarnock, for whom I have always had and expressed the highest regard. All I am saying is that we have gone further in this subsection to allay fears on this matter than he was prepared to go on the very analogous Section 81 which he enacted in 1969.
§ Mr. Buchan
I do not want to examine all the references in detail, especially as I do not have them before me.
We cannot get away in the House with trying to defend the indefensible on the grounds that the same tactical procedural measure has been used in different circumstances. It is not good enough to say that, even if the tactical, legalistic precedent has been met, the two agencies may be totally different.
The Lord Advocate has failed to defend this part of the Bill in its own right. I understand his difficulty. He said that, even granting that this provision were bad and monstrous, nevertheless it followed from the previous subsection and, therefore, the Amendment cannot be looked at because this subsection is an inevitable consequence of the first basic subsection.
We have had so many monstrous examples which have been excused only on the ground that they followed from the first main section that it calls into question the first main section. It is not good enough merely to rest on that legalistic ground. Second, the right hon. and learned Gentleman must pay some attention to the views which have been 354 expressed that this is a kind of legal vandalism.
In relation to another analogous Bill we used the term "a welshing subsection". This is the welshing section of the Bill, because it welshes on all the good faith and philantrophic intentions of so many people. It does something worse, and this is where the Lord Advocate's analogy totally and absolutely falls. The 1969 Act, which he quoted, dealt with an ending situation. The point about this subsection is that it deals with the present and continuing situation, because it will have the effect of damming up the supply of gifts and everything else in the future.
§ Mr. Buchan
The Lord Advocate knows the circumstances of the 1969 Act. I repeat what I said, that Section 81 dealt with a past and ending situation. This one is damning the possibility of future bequests of one kind and another. That is the difference and that is why the hon. and learned Gentleman's legalistic argument does not stand.
The third point is that the Lord Advocate said that Amendment No. 13 could not be accepted because it would destroy the basic purpose of the first subsection. However, the right hon. and learned Gentleman takes credit for writing in that the Government will consult the governing body concerned. Either "consultations" means what it says or it does not. The Lord Advocate claims that it means what it says and that the Government shall consult and that, if a case is put forward, the Government may take the view of the governing body. Amendment No. 13 had to be resisted precisely because if the Government took the view of the governing body it would destroy the Bill.
The Lord Advocate cannot have it both ways. By his own argument, lines 23 and 24 would equally make nonsense of the Bill if they really mean that consultations will successfully take place. Either the Lord Advocate is trying to con the country and the trustees with this assurance and it does not mean anything or, if it does, it means that there is no argument on his own terms against 355 Amendment No. 13 and I hope that he will withdraw his objection to it.
§ Amendment negatived.
§ 8.15 p.m.
§ The Under-Secretary of State for Health and Education, Scottish Office (Mr. Hector Monro)
I beg to move, That the Bill be now read the Third time.
I should make clear that the two concessions that the House has accepted tonight concerning disabled persons and guides will apply to Scotland, too, particularly in relation to guides through the scheme that is operated by the Scottish Tourist Board.
The purpose of the Bill is a restricted one, namely, to ensure that the powers of the governing bodies of the national institutions to make charges are adequate. The Bill seeks to do no more than that. The charging itself will be by administrative action and is not in the Bill.
At present the national museums and galleries are financed almost entirely by the taxpayer. Some of the trustee bodies are fortunate in having available to them resources from private trust funds. But the whole of the running expenses of the institutions, and in recent years the whole of the capital expenditure, is met by the taxpayer. The Government have decided that in the interests of limiting the burden on the taxpayer at a time when the institutions require increasing resources that part of the burden—I accept it is a very small part about one-twentieth—should be shifted from the taxpayer to those who actually use and directly benefit from the institutions.
That is the issue at stake. There is no doubt about the pressures on museums and art galleries. For a long time the attendances have been rising, not always constantly but the trend is upwards. I accept there is some doubt about the position in Scotland but this is because of the counting methods that have been used in the past. As the facilities improve, and they will with capital expenditure that is increasing substantially, with new and attractive layouts in museums and galleries, and with special exhibitions and better publicity, I believe that the numbers attending in Scotland will move constantly upwards, on a par with the English and Welsh trend.
§ Mr. John Smith
Would the hon. Gentleman care to comment on the report issued by the National Museum of Antiquities of Scotland which states its belief that the announcement of the admission charges has already led to a drop in people attending the galleries—before charges are imposed?
§ Mr. Monro
I can only give my own judgment which is that I do not feel that that comment is justified. Tourism continues to expand. The effects of higher standards of education will also be felt. There is no doubt about the widespread demand for improved museums and galleries and the Government are determined to play their part in meeting it.
The acquisition grants of £2 million each year will help to raise the quality of exhibits but the galleries must have additional resources for general expansion, for alterations, new buildings, facilities for the disabled and so on. The introduction of charges will enable the Government in part to provide these, as set out in the White Paper. This is the purpose of the Bill, to give enabling powers to the trustees to charge. It does no more and no less and I commend it to the House.
§ 8.17 p.m.
§ Mr. Faulds
This is a very gymnastic Government. The Prime Minister and his team are renowned for the somersaults they have turned on every aspect of policy. They have stood on their heads on issue after issue. They have tossed aside broken promises like discarded gymslips. On one policy they have stood firm through all the acrobatics. They still intend to bully the trustees of the various museum and gallery boards into introducing charges for admission which will break the traditions of generations of free viewing and which will exclude many people from the educational use and enlightenment of our great heritage of collections.
Against all informed opinion the Government intend to plough ahead with their cultural tax. Regardless of the educational damage these charges will do to the bright and inquiring child, they intend to see that the thirst for knowledge is taxed. The Treasury is to have its whack from the great collections that have been left to the nation by our forebears who realised, as this Government 357 do not seem to realise, the value of the dissemination of knowledge and who ensured its free availability to all. Now that availability of those collections is to be curbed by the ability to pay. The sad fact is that for all our talk of an affluent society there are many in our midst who simply will not be able to fork out the necessary.
Perhaps if Tory Members had more contact with the poorer sections of our community, the members of society who do not vote Tory, they would understand this. Perhaps in that case they might net even be Tories. It would be fatuous of the Government to pretend that these charges will not affect attendances. They know that in the past charges were levied explicitly for that purpose, to limit attendances, so that the cultural élite could enjoy viewing the galleries without the sweaty press of the hoi-polloi upon them. The Paymaster-General adumbrated this in another place in a debate some months ago.
These charges will lead without any doubt to a fall in attendances, a fact that has already been proved, quite contrary to what the Under-Secretary maintains and very much in line with the argument put by my hon. Friend the Member for Lanarkshire, North (Mr. John Smith) a moment ago. During the three summer months of June, July and August attendance figures at the National Gallery fell by about 53,000 in comparison with the previous year. Then someone in their administration, deeply concerned at this decline, had the idea of erecting a huge "Admission Free" sign on the façade of the building. We have all seen it. With what result? In September alone there were 37,000 more visitors than in the previous September.
The Scottish experience, which the Under-Secretary ought to know, but apparently does not, underlines this lesson. The annual report of the National Galleries of Scotland for 1971 expressed concern about what it termed "the severe falls" in attendance at its galleries. During 1971 admissions to the Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh dropped by almost half, from 106,712 the previous year to 56,850. But the reduction in the numbers at the Gallery of Modern Art was from 218,728, to 93,812—a really drastic and dramatic fall.
§ Mr. Faulds
I cannot off the cuff give the figures. Perhaps the hon. Gentleman will tell us the figure.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker (Sir Robert Grant-Ferris)
Order. Having given way the hon. Gentleman must allow the Under-Secretary to make his intervention.
§ Mr. Faulds
That might account for some of the fall, but I do not think it accounts for the dramatic and drastic fall I mentioned.
Let me pursue my argument. Mr. Hugh Scrutton, the Director of the National Galleries of Scotland, thought it likely that the public were in a state of confusion about admission charges, and it is not surprising because we have been lumbering on with the debate about these dreary charges for the best part of two years. Mr. Scrutton reported:There has been some diminution in attendances since admission charges were first proposed. This may well be attributed to people wondering if they have to pay.Is this the result the noble Lord intended? Is this really what this mistake-prone Government meant to happen? Do they really have to wait for the three years which the Paymaster-General said should pass before the situation is reviewed? Cannot they draw the obvious deductions now about the damage that will be clone to the work of the galleries and museums? They should withdraw the Bill tonight.
This ineffable little Measure—and one could describe it in other terms—the object of widespread and reasoned opposition for a full two years will constitute a classic example of the solemn enactment of humbug, hypocrisy and 359 double-talk. It brazenly purports—we have only to look at the marginal summary of Clause 1—graciously to confer "Liberty to charge for admission" on such boards of trustees as are impeded by the existing state of the law from doing so. Everyone knows who has followed this debate over these two years that the vast majority of these long-suffering unpaid public servants would be hugely relieved if this whole, thoughtless venture could be consigned to the burning fiery furnace.
The Measure is not mandatory, it does not lay down a legal obligation on the trustees which must be accepted. It takes the cowardly way and adopts the backstairs approach. It contrives to remove such legal protection as some of the institutions happen to enjoy, that is to render them all equally exposed to financial blackmail by an irresponsible Minister. The Government's ideal was enunciated with delighted relish many months ago by that would-be cultural Duce the Paymaster-General. He stated that since the trustees of the national museums and galleries "get all the money from the Government they always agree with the Government." The latter assertion it may be noted is wishful thinking, which events have proved not to be altogether accurate over the last few months.
Trustees have hitherto been seen to occupy an independent position between Government and public, mediators between the one or the other and sometimes deserving the respect of both. The trustees of the future are here billed in this dreary little Measure to he faceless front men of the Government, puppets manipulated by financial leading-strings from behind the scenes, to carry out policies contrary to their beliefs, which is the case with this Bill.
But will the goodwill, and even the prestige, which some trustees have enjoyed with the public and the art world, survive this emasculation of their powers and responsibilities? In the long run it certainly will not. As Lord Gardiner implied most pertinently in another place the recruiting of trustees of real calibre, capable of independent thought and judgment, will become increasingly difficult.
360 No doubt the more trustees approximate to unpaid sycophantic servitors the better it will suit an arrogant and self-opinionated Minister's book. But it will not redound to the advantage of the institutions and of the general public.
A letter from the Paymaster-General to the chairmen of all the museum boards of 9th December last, and fortunately published in the Press in February, turned out to be a typical exercise in his sort of double-talk in that it allegedly proposed "a major change in the responsibilities of governing bodies", by purporting to give them more liberty, just as this squalid little Bill does. In this process however the Minister contrived to refer to certain powers as "belonging" to the Department which had never done so. This missive which became notorious for its confusion, inaccuracies and its bombast now seems to have become more or less a dead letter. At any rate nothing more has been heard of this "major change".
Since then the relationship between the Paymaster-General and the boards has steadily and constantly deteriorated and has now achieved a record low. It is no secret, indeed it is a matter of common knowledge, that they neither accord him their trust nor retain any respect for his judgment, his ability or even his mere competence.
It is amazing to what lengths arrogance, bluff and obstinacy can take a minor Minister and, more is the pity, in the process, the most serious and lasting damage is sustained by the whole system which we have evolved and inherited. What an epitaph for two years of meddle and muddle, with resort to bullying and blackmail to achieve it. Now the crowning monument to this brash and specious smart-alec is to be enshrined in the British Statute Book—but only temporarily.
I fear it may be too late to suggest that just for once the noble Lord might haul down his false colours and sail his rotten hulk under its true colours. This should not be the Museums and Galleries (Admission Charges) Bill but the Museum Trustees (Facilitation of Financial Blackmail and Debilitation of Powers) Bill. The Government should be ashamed of their obduracy in this matter when they have stood on their head in practically every other. This is a miserable, mean Measure, a damaging Measure, a piteously 361 ludicrous and petty Bill. Let the House and country be assured that when we come again to Government we shall erase its nasty traces from the Statute Book.
§ 8.30 p.m.
§ Mr. Ivor Stanbrook (Orpington)
I have always been against the Bill and nothing which I have heard in the Chamber or in Committee has changed my mind. Most of the debates have been concerned with attempts to obtain some form of concession or compromise on the terms of the proposed charges. I have not been interested in those debates because in this case compromise is objectionable. The whole principle of charging, of penalising public access to our cultural heritage, is wrong at the present time.
Obviously we need to spend more money on our cultural heritage and on education for the purpose of appreciating it. It cannot be denied that some part of the public revenue should be devoted to it. In particular, I should like to see more spent upon museums. However, it seems that the Government are endeavouring to make a balance and that having spent so much upon museums there comes a point at which it is not possible to spend more unless there is some compensating revenue which can be derived from charges. The true balance is whether we get as much value out of the money which we spend on museums without charging as we get for equivalent expenditure on other cultural objectives.
Every penny which we spend on museums and public galleries enabling us to give the public free access to them is worth more than every penny spent on the experimental theatre and some of the other objectives of the Arts Council expenditure. Money spent on keeping museums free and open and allowing the public access to pure and wholesome culture is desirable. But it is not right to suggest that once £1 million has been raised from museums it will be possible with good conscience to continue spending millions of £s in other directions which are less worthy.
The maximum which can be raised out of admission charges to museums and public galleries is about £1 million. Any attempt to gain more than that involves 362 a higher standard rate of admission charge. A higher charge than the 10p or 20p. whatever is proposed under the arrangements, is sure to be a positive deterrent to the public in visiting museums and galleries. We have placed ourselves in a false doctrinaire position whereby it is necessary that there should be some contribution from this source so that more money can be spent elsewhere. We are forgetting the balance of value which is desirable. When one considers the thousands of millions of £s which we are at present expending on public objectives, this is not the time to penalise access to our cultural heritage merely in order to satisfy some sort of principle under which everybody who benefits must in some way pay a surcharge or penalty for the privilege of doing so.
§ 8.35 p.m.
§ Mr. Edelman
In listening to the hon. Member for Orpington (Mr. Stanbrook) I could not help feeling, as on previous occasions, that Orpington had travelled a long way since the days of the late Sir Waldron Smithers. But I could not help hearing a few ghostly echoes of that distinguished voice when the hon. Gentleman started making a false antithesis between his very proper argument in favour of keeping access to museums and galleries free and his attack, as I took it to be, on the work of the Arts Council. The Arts Council has done and continues to do a great deal of good. While this is not the occasion for me to defend it, I would protest against the suggestion that somehow, by defending the principle of free admission to museums and galleries, we should in some way compensate for that by applying restrictions to other worthy purposes.
Indeed, there is a paradox in what the Government are now doing. That paradox is illustrated most clearly by the fact that while on the one hand they are trying to extract £1 million from all classes of visitors to the museums, without hesitation they are spending £250,000 on the "Fanfair to Europe", money which is to be spent within the space of a few days. I declare straight away that I am pro-European and I welcome the fact that our entry into Europe will be appropriately signalled, but I cannot reconcile the fact that the Government—upholding the quality of life, as they purport to do—are spending £250,000 on a single fanfair 363 while being so ungenerous, mean and parsimonious. I was not surprised that the Under-Secretary moved the Third Reading so perfunctorily. I can well understand that he has no pride in this short, nasty brutish Bill and I can well believe that if he had had the opportunity he would have walked away from it and disowned it, but that was not to be.
The fact remains that we are now approaching the moment when one of the most Philistine and reactionary Measures of all time is to be put on the Statute Book, a Measure that totally reverses the whole process of enlightened thinking for the last 150 years. Studying the evolution of thinking about popular education, from the original Acts dealing with free education and throughout the enactments concerned with free libraries right up to the present-day Education Acts, one sees this single Measure as a reversal of all the principles embodied in that progressive legislation.
It is easy to see how the Bill has come about. In the first champagne flush of Tory victory, the Prime Minister suddenly looked round and asked his various departmental Ministers how they would apply the traditional Tory philosophy. They conjured up the magic figure of one million and, having established that as a target, they sought measures to correspond with that idea. They thought that first they would spend £1 million on the Civil List. They then decided that they would create about a million unemployed. Finally they decided that they would extract £1 million in charges from people going to museums and galleries. In that way they would have three magic millions, which would be their target.
But the noble Lord in another place had overlooked the fact that a revolution had been going on on the benches opposite and those high Tory principles had been reversed. Instead of the old laissez-faire attitudes, laissez-faire attitudes applied with meanness—depriving the children of milk and making them pay more for their school meals—a revolution has been going on by which, instead of trying to extract from the poorer section of the community the means for supporting their more ambitious projects, the Government are now in a position, through legislation such as the Industry Bill, in which they are making 364 contributions. We are left in the extraordinary position that the Bill is left over from a previous mode of thinking and the unhappy Under-Secretary has the thankless task of trying to justify a Bill of which privately he must be ashamed.
The most evil thing about the Bill is the injury that it will do to young people, for it is the young people who are the inheritors of the past and the trustees of the future. Hitherto, the young generation has had free access to museums and galleries and young people have gone to them sometimes to look at pictures, sometimes to hold hands with girl friends and sometimes even to seek warmth from the wind outside. I am sure that as they have stood in the presence of great works of art their lives have been enriched, in precisely the same way as were the lives of some notable men. I think of men like Henry Moore, for example, who in their autobiographies have explained how in their childhood, often poverty-stricken, the museums and public galleries were places where they could find shelter and have their lives made richer, by being able to contemplate some of the great creations of the past.
Now, suddenly, instead of the worthwhile society, we have the turnstile society. Instead of our having a society in which people could think of ennobling and fulfilling their lives, raising them to a higher power through the greatness which belongs to the nation—certainly not to the Paymaster-General—people find that they are in the presence of barriers. If there is anything which can divide the nation, which can frustrate the ideal of one nation to which members of the Government Front Bench pay lip service—I am not talking about the courageous back benchers—it is the existence of barriers, not even sentimental barriers but physical barriers, between the haves and the have-nots.
It is all very well for the Under-Secretary to talk about the smallness of the charge, to say that 10p or 5p, or even 50p for a season ticket, is no hardship. The fact is that it is. Many people who would like to go to the galleries and museums will be prevented from doing so. It is not just because they cannot raise the 10p but because, as the Under-Secretary must know, when people go to a gallery they like to go accompanied, to share the pleasure of contemplation 365 with their husbands, wives or children, with their boy friends or girl friends. If the hon. Gentleman went to the Tate Gallery any afternoon he would see dozens, perhaps even hundreds, of young couples who go there to enjoy the opportunity of standing in the presence of great works of art. They are people who will in great measure be deprived of those opportunities. It is no good the backwoodsmen and backwoodswomen inveighing at Tory conferences against the youth of today, complaining of their violence, their irreverence and their lack of manners, when the Tory Government are depriving those young people of the opportunity to enjoy the benevolent influences of the works of art contained in our galleries.
We are reaching a most interesting crisis in the matter of patronage. In the past there were many of us, certainly on this side of the House—and I count myself among them—who felt that when the age of public patronage came the problems of both the artist and the observer would be solved. But not a bit of it. The patronage exercised by the noble Lord the Paymaster-General is of a harsh and unconscionable kind, which so far from enriching the life of the country is impoverishing it, of a kind which, by placing a mercenary and meretricious valuation on matters of access to the heritage of the past, is presenting us with a kind of negative patronage. He as assembled patronage at his hands and has used his power to deprive the nation of the benefits which patronage could offer.
I have already said that tonight we have been debating the nation's heritage, not the Paymaster-General's private collection. We are concerned not simply with the fact that we have a Paymaster-General who in his temporary power is capable of putting down a barrier between the public as a whole and what rightly belongs to them. A museum or an art gallery should not be a place of fossilised relics; it should be a centre of community, a place where people can assemble and communicate with each other, fulfil themselves, open doors to great new vistas for themselves and their families. Every restriction, however petty—and these restrictions are petty—is something which lowers the quality of our national life.
366 I believe that the Prime Minister himself is one who is concerned with the arts. I am astonished that the Under-Secretary has not yet been advised by the Prime Minister, who has such a deep concern for the art of music, that the plastic arts, too, have their place in the national life. I am surprised that the Prime Minister who very properly, and I certainly would be the last to sneer at him, presents himself to the nation whether he is standing on a podium conducting or whether he is extending his sympathy to musicians, should take such a parochial view. I am astonished that while the right hon. Gentleman gives such encouragmenet to the art of music he should at the same time show such a narrow indifference to the plastic arts which are so much more accessible to so many more people.
§ Mr. van Straubenzee
It so happens that, under my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister's overall direction of course, I have in detail been responsible for the greatly increased grants, the rightly increased grants, to the two Royal Colleges of Music, and the matter is therefore of very great interest and concern to me. I should be very grateful to know the hon. Member's view on the fact that when the products of those two great colleges and they are great, perform for the enormous benefit of us all, none of us contemplates being allowed to go to listen to them for free.
§ Mr. Edelman
When a musician performs he is not performing as one who has been handed down in person from the past, where he has been paid for, preserved and sheltered in the interests of the nation. The performing musician is quite different from the artefact which belongs to the nation, which is held in trust for the nation and which is a legacy bestowed on the nation. The Under-Secretary uses a completely false analogy and I am afraid that when he uses that kind of bogus analogy, sympathetic though I am to him generally, he and I must part company.
We are dealing tonight with a legacy to the nation. I believe that the Conservative Party is in the process of betraying that legacy and I am glad that my Front Bench has given an assurance that when our party is once more in 367 power we shall repeal this mean and iniquitous Measure.
§ 8.48 p.m.
§ Mr. Money
The House always listens with interest and respect to the hon. Member for Coventry, North (Mr. Edelman) and when he spoke just now of the ideal that a museum should be and what it should do to serve, he struck a very warm note for me. It is for that reason that I find it puzzling that so many people in the House whom I admire and respect, including my hon. Friends the Members for Orpington (Mr. Stanbrook) and Louth (Mr. Jeffrey Archer)—
§ Mr. Money
I will reserve my remarks in relation to my hon. Friend the Member for Smethwick (Mr. Faulds) for a moment—have not faced up to the real crisis that exists in the museum service or borne in mind the real steps that are now being taken to cope with it. Let me say at once that I should have been far happier had it been possible to get this form of money in as is done in the Museum of Modern Art and other American galleries—that is to say, in the form of having a box rattled very heavily in front of the noses of those who go to the gallery. That, in my view, would have been a far more effective way of dealing with this problem.
However, I find it sad that in the emotional problem this has become, and which has reached the epitome of the use of more adjectives by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Smethwick this evening than I have every heard him use on any previous occasion—
§ Mr. Money
I do not think the hon. Gentleman ever uses appropriate adjectives though he uses a great many.
However, in the emotional atmosphere, the long-term, basic problem here is being overlooked, and that is that the presentation of the arts in this country is not a static affair. To listen to hon. Gentlemen like the hon. Member for Lanarkshire, North (Mr. John Smith) one would think, I say with respect, from the somewhat narrow legalistic argument he was putting forward, that all one 368 had to do about any works in public keeping was simply to accept them on behalf of the nation and that that was the end of the day. When he spoke with keen emotion of the national galleries of Scotland, what he did not give full weight to was the fact that large sections of the collections in those galleries, including large parts of the public bequests, cannot be shown very largely because of the inadequate facilities there are to put them properly before the public to whom they belong.
I would ask the House, therefore, this question. Is it worth making some form of sacrifice—and sacrifice, I accept, this is—in order to establish, if this can be the only way of making sure of it, that the Treasury is regularly going to be prepared to degorge, that the advance of a reasonable subsidy to the arts does take place?
That is why I think that the strictures from the hon. Gentleman the Member for Coventry, North were a little less than generous when he spoke of the Paymaster-General in terms only of this Bill and did not mention the fact that under his administration more money is being spent on the arts, and in particular more money is being spent on the building programme for the fine arts and the applied arts, than has ever been spent by any Government before.
I come back to what the hon. Gentleman spoke of, and spoke movingly of, the value of a museum as a living project, something which can enrich our lives. So often in the modern State, I believe, that is failing now, because not enough money is being provided and not enough facilities are available. In particular, when one views the building programme which now exists one can see what that will hold out, and I hope there will be adequate money for preserving works of art in the other sense of keeping works of art in this country, and by getting an adequate grant to keep up with the effects which inflation has had. It is against that background that if by this Bill we can make sure that there will be a perpetuation of the tradition that the Treasury will make an adequate contribution, I believe it is reluctantly worth it.
I want to stress one specific matter to my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State. I ask him to bring his influence 369 to bear on his colleagues in the Treasury with regard to the increasing importance, against this background, of the National Art Collections Fund. I welcome, like others, the concession he was able to make about the disabled, a case close to my own heart as well. Another most valuable concession earlier was with regard to the National Art Collections Fund. But it is surely ridiculous in these circumstances that what should be given with one hand should be taken away with the other in the sense that the fund is now liable to pay value added tax.
This is an age in which, as the hon. Member for Coventry, North rightly reminded us, there are more and wider problems about patronage, particularly with regard to the applied arts, than there have been in previous generations. The National Art Collections Fund needs every sort of support that it can be given, and the best way to do that would be to let it have the full effects of the money it collects, with considerable dedication, from its private supporters and members.
Like the hon. Member for Smethwick, I too pay my small tribute to the great number of public spirited persons who serve our galleries and museums as trustees and in other ways. I hope that after these debates all those concerned with the arts will at any rate appreciate that there is great concern for the future of their institutions, for their work and for the arts generally. I hope that increasingly will come the knowledge that we are to perpetuate the generous principles that were adopted by both parties during and after the war, with the work of Lord Keynes and the founding of the Arts Council, that there has been established in this country something which is to be given permanent and increasing support. I hope that it will be recognised that, whatever bitterness there may have been on this occasion, both parties will continue to support the principle as they have done in the past, and here one also pays tribute to the work of the right hon. and noble Lady, Baroness Lee and to that of my right hon. and noble Friend the Paymaster-General. Let it continue to be realised that both Houses of Parliament will make it their duty to get as much money as they can from the Treasury for this great part of the country's life.
§ 9.0 p.m.
§ Mr. John Smith
The hon. Member for Ipswich (Mr. Money) argued that to get money from the Treasury it was necessary to pay it a tribute of £1 million so that it would be prepared to give more money later. I do not want to get involved much in that argument because I want to speak particularly about the Scottish galleries and museums and how they are affected. But it is an odd idea that somehow in the Government there is this institution of the Treasury, totally without political control, to which tribute has to be given before it will give money to the arts. That is simply not the case. If they so willed it, the Government could spend much more money on the arts without having to apply admission charges.
The Under-Secretary of State for Scotland adopted a wise course in speaking briefly. A Minister can take up one of two positions when faced with the difficulty of defending a Measure like this. He can either speak very briefly or, like the Under-Secretary of State for Education and Science, get involved in very long and convoluted apologies and analogies for what the Government are seeking to do.
It is unfortunate that the Under-Secretary of State for Scotland did not say more about the effect of these charges on the galleries of Scotland. It demonstrates clearly the futility of this operation. It is one thing to impose charges at the Tate Gallery and the National Gallery in London, where there are more than a million visitors a year, but quite another to impose them on the smaller galleries in Edinburgh, for example.
The National Gallery in Edinburgh has about 500,000 visitors a year. The other galleries affected are much smaller. The latest figure for the Gallery of Modern Art is 93,000 visitors a year and for the National Portrait Gallery and the Musuem of Antiquities, which have the same entrance, the figure is about 56,000. I want to show how paltry are the sums that the Government will recover by way of admission charges.
My hon. Friend the Member for Greenwich (Mr. Guy Barnett) referred to the cost of collecting admission charges 371 in respect of the Wallace Collection. The figure was over 30 per cent. and no doubt he thought that was probably the highest figure. In fact, the highest proportion of costs of collection relates to Scotland and its National Portrait Gallery. The Government estimate—this was given in a Parliamentary Answer by the Secretary of State for Scotland on 15th March—that their gross annual receipts for the National Portrait Gallery and Museum of Antiquities will be £5,400. The cost of staff, equipment and amortisation of capital costs is such that the net proceeds, after costs have been taken off the total of admission charges, amount to only £2,960. The cost of collection is 45 per cent.
There should be somebody in the Government who is prepared to tell them when they have reached the stage of absolute absurdity. There can be no defence in terms of introducing charges at a gallery where the cost of collection is as high as 45 per cent. and the net proceeds are under £3,000 a year.
If this were not bad enough, it must be pointed out that the National Gallery of Modern Art will get as gross annual receipts from admission charges only £5,000. Taking into account the cost of collection, which is 27 per cent. the total will amount to only £3,640. This situation beggars belief.
§ Mr. William Ross (Kilmarnock)
The Government could save that by getting rid of one Under-Secretary of State.
§ Mr. Smith
As my right hon. Friend the Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Ross) says, by removing one Under-Secretary the Government could pay the cost of these two galleries. The public would thereby benefit in two ways: first by gaining free admission to the galleries, and secondly by not being burdened by another Minister. There are easy solutions to some of these problems if the Government have the will to face up to them.
I quote these figures to show the reductio ad absurdum of the whole proposition when applied to galleries in Scotland. In total the gross figures of receipts in respect of all galleries in Scotland will be about £36,000. It is bad enough to impose these charges to rake in 372 £1 million in the rest of the United Kingdom, but it is absurd to impose charges on galleries in Edinburgh to rake in only £36,000. In respect of the Gallery of Modern Art there is an admission charge of one-half. We have the ridiculous situation that a child can go into the Botanical Gardens free, but to go into the Gallery of Modern Art he will have to pay 2p entry fee. What an immense amount of administration and staff will be required to collect 2p from a child who goes into that gallery!
These examples demonstrate that this is not a matter of the Government approaching this Measure from any considered view. It is a case of an obsession which took root deep within the Government at an early stage and which is now being pursued like a relentless juggernaut, with absurd results. This is true of the whole of the United Kingdom but the situation as applied to Scotland is even more within the realms of absurdity. If the present Secretary of State and his Ministers had any political guts or gumption they would have seen that Scotland was exempted from the provisions in the Bill.
In the light of the figures I have quoted, there is no reason for Scotland to be subjected to those provisions and there is ample ground for exemption for Scotland. This is a piece of madness which has afflicted the Paymaster-General and its contagion has spread to his colleagues. Nobody in the Government has been prepared to fight the Paymaster-General's obsession over this scheme. I hope that the House will bear these points in mind in regard to Scotland because I regard this as a classic example of a Government which are not prepared to recognise an absurdity when they see one.
§ 9.7 p.m.
§ Mr. Jeffrey Archer
I rise to oppose the Bill again. I will try not to rehearse to my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State the entire argument since it has been dealt with so ably by hon. Members on both sides of the House. I should like to add one or two comments which have not arisen in this debate.
I, like the hon. Member for Coventry, North (Mr. Edelman), believe that the Bill was an unfortunate start to Parliament, and that if the Conservative Party 373 could have its time over again this situation would never have arisen. I may be wrong, but that is my assessment of the situation.
I believe that my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister said, quite rightly, to his Cabinet colleagues, "We must make cutbacks and must save money". Ministers were called upon to save money in their own Departments and did so. Equally, I believe that there was a cry, "We must bring more money in", and that is how the magic figure of £1 million arose. I am of course surmising completely here, but I believe that it was agreed that in the arts a figure of £1 million must be raised. I do not think they ever said that there must be a 10p charge and that that will total £1 million. I think they said, "The figure we have in mind is £1 million, and therefore there will be a 10p charge".
The tragedy for my party is that this petty little measure will bring in its £1 million, but it will lose us more prestige and good friends in the middle-thinking society than we shall probably lose on any other measure than school milk. For that reason alone I was sorry that we ever saw fit to pursue it.
The Under-Secretary knows that my personal feelings about the Bill are heavily levelled down to the position with the young and the old. I still hope that in his final speech tonight we shall see some change. I still hope that he will find it possible to rise at the Dispatch Box and give back a little. We have all told him that we believe this charge for the young is anti-education in its own way and the charge for the old is a charge on the poorest section of our society with the most time. I have nothing to add to those two cases. I just hope the Under-Secretary will be able to rise at the Dispatch Box and say that the weight of argument has changed the 10p to 5p to nothing. I thank my hon. Friend yet again for having changed it from 10p to 5p during the nine months we have been at work, but I hope that he will yet, even now, be able to bring it down to nothing.
Unusual though it is, I am afraid that I found myself in disagreement with my hon. Friend the Member for Ipswich (Mr. Money). I found his arguments facing the wrong direction. When people 374 left to the nation their great works of art, when they left, as a bequest to the nation rather than to their children, a privilege, they did it because they knew that it was for free and that the rest of the nation could see those works of art. That was the privilege they were able to give. Were many of them alive today, knowing there would be a charge to see those things, they may well think a second time about giving them to the nation.
§ Mr. Archer
I agree totally with that argument, but I do not see it as an argument for us collecting money in order that it should be done that way. If there is not enough room to see our works of art, we must build more places for them to he put in.
In the latter part of his argument, which he developed with great sincerity, my hon. Friend said that on balance he would vote for the Bill because, when the money had been collected, it would mean that a few more things could be seen and the whole ambience would be better in which to see them. I accept that argument. What I do not understand is that my Government should put up a higher percentage for the arts, for which I am greatly in praise as I am sure the Opposition are, and at the same time claw back this measly £1 million. I could understand if the Government had kept the amount they gave to the arts the same as under the last Administration, but to put up what was given under the last Administration by vast amounts, as was pointed out by my hon. Friend the Member for Ipswich, and then to claw back this measly £1 million is not, as my hon. Friend the Member for Tynemouth (Dame Irene Ward) suggested, Alice in Wonderland; it is Alice Through the Looking Glass.
The whole thing is wrong. If my hon. Friend is right—he has greater knowledge than I on this subject—we need to build more and let people see more of 375 the works of art that are underground and hidden, but not at the expense of the old or the young and not at the expense of education. So I am quite unable to agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Ipswich.
My attitude is one of civilisation. This is a privilege—a heritage I think it was called by the hon. Member for Coventry, North—passed from generation to generation. I suggest, obviously not knowing, that my personal hero in the world of art, Turner, would be appalled to think that his entire collection in the Tate, one of the finest collections of paintings in the world, will now cost 10p per person to be seen. I believe that were he alive and in a position either to withdraw them or to make a speech in this House, he would be the first to insist that something be done.
I want to mention, because so many of the arguments have been so ably and competently rehearsed, the position of the backbencher in relation to the Bill. We have heard it said again and again in this House, and it was tragic to hear the hon. Member for Coventry, North say with sincerity that he was full of respect for the courageous—that was his word—Members on this side of the House who had the courage to fight against the Bill and to abstain or vote against it. What a dreadful time we have reached if backbenchers need courage to vote against a Bill like this. What a time we have reached in this House of Commons that we have become "Yes" men, that we crawl into the corridors whatever and whoever says what. I shall have none of it. I am appalled by this argument.
Many hon. Members seem to have forgotten that half the Members of Disraeli's Cabinet voted against him, and they were not thrown out. Today it is taken for granted that a Member of the Government can never vote against his party. That we have to accept, but it is fast becoming accepted that a backbencher cannot vote against his Government on major issues, on minor issues or on something about which he feels sincerely. If that is extended from the Disraeli era through the Heath era to another generation, we shall be nothing but a bunch of puppets pretending to represent our constituents.
376 I am against the Bill. The Whips will never change my mind on that. Perhaps if we ever see the return of a Labour Government they will take the Bill away. I am sure that we shall not, but on this Bill, and on this subject, no Whip will make me crawl into any corridor, and no man saying that we might lose the Bill because some Members are in Paris will make me crawl into a corridor.
I was disappointed to hear my hon. Friend ask us to take note of the small majorities because some of our Members are in Paris. This is the House of Commons. If the majority is low, it is a disgrace, but the majority is low because Members feel strongly about the Bill. The majorities have been consistent—3, 4, 5, 7, 5, 4, and so on, in this House and in the other place. The reason is that this is a shoddy Bill, a second-rate Bill, and also that it is a Bill which we regret ever bringing to the Floor of the House.
The personal tragedy is that we did not have the courage to drop it, to forget it, six or eight weeks ago. I repeat what I said to the right hon. Member for Vauxhall (Mr. Strauss). I honestly believe that the right hon. Gentleman and his colleagues would have remained silent, if we had quietly let the Bill go. They would not have leapt up and down saying that we were weak. The right hon. Gentleman is an older and more senior Member of the House than I am.
I believe that the day that a Minister stands up at the Dispatch Box and says "We have thought about this, we rushed in too fast and we made a mistake", he will capture the respect of the entire country. It is a wrong attitude to think that one always has to be correct once one has made a decision. I feel that even more than being told that I must crawl into a corridor. It is worth fighting for, even if it is not on this Bill. I shall abstain. I think that this is a Bill of no significance. I have voted against three Clauses and two Amendments, and when the final vote comes I shall abstain.
§ 9.19 p.m.
§ Mr. Buchan
The last few words spoken by the hon. Member for Louth (Mr. Jeffrey Archer) have put me in an immense quandary. I was going to pay my respects to his fine statement and say—I shall not call it courage—that it was 377 very good speech, but the hon. Member ended by saying that he would not crawl into a corridor; indeed, that he would not crawl into either of two corridors.
§ Mr. Edelman
Perhaps my hon. Friend did not quite hear the hon. Member for Louth (Mr. Jeffrey Archer) say sotto voce that he was going to crawl into the Library.
§ Mr. Buchan
Whatever embellishment is given to his statement, the facts remain. The hon. Gentleman at first convinced me that he would stand up for what he believed in. That was the message of the greater part of his speech.
The significant thing about the hon. Gentleman's speech is that he has got through to some of his hon. Friends the importance, the seriousness and the depth of the issue we are debating. I do not think he will help his case if after that, he does not stand up and vote. I hope that he will. I respect the hon. Gentleman for what he has done in the past and for all the arguments he has put before the House.
The hon. Gentleman's closing remarks have made my task a little easier. I had thought that there was no point in going on after 99.9 per cent. of what he said but, clearly, all has not now been said and there are one or two matters which we must take up. First, it should be re-emphasised that no case has yet been made for collecting that £1 million. No case has been made for the principle of charging. We have been told that, if we raise the £1 million through charges, more money will be made available by the Treasury for the galleries. This has been the "sprat and mackerel" argument, the argument advanced by the hon. Member for Ipswich (Mr. Money). With respect I do not follow that argument. The hon. Member for Ipswich mentioned Scotland, where the gross amount coming in will be £36,000. As one of my hon. Friends said, if the Government sacked a few Under-Secretaries of State they could easily cover that—and high time too. But such a sum will not give us the buildings we need to show all the pictures which we have in Scotland. It is argued that we need to raise the £1 million because we do not have enough money to show all the pictures we already 378 have, but plainly £36,000 will not do that in Scotland.
Neither do I follow the argument that the Treasury will not give any money unless charges come in to the tune of £1 million. Who on earth is the Treasury? It seems to be some sort of mousetrap—put the cheese down, snap goes the Treasury and out comes some money. I thought that decisions were made by the Government, not by some mousetrap mechanism of that sort. The argument makes no kind of sense. I do not understand it and I do not believe that hon. Members on the Government side understand it.
I think that this all comes from the days of what has been described as the champagne flush—I think that my hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, North (Mr. Edelman) called it the winey head. or the heady wine—both, I suspect—when the Government thought that they would make all manner of cuts in public expenditure and the museums and galleries had to take their share. There was no principle in it at all.
Let us consider for a moment the effect of what the Government are doing. As soon as cash is introduced in this way, it completely distorts what many of us had regarded as one of the great opportunities of our century, the whole idea of popular or public patronage. As my hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, North said, it becomes a negative patronage as soon as cash is involved. And what cash—10p for a Rembrandt. As soon as cash is involved, the whole sense and value of the thing is vitiated, and the meaning goes.
The Government ought to recognise the strength of the counter-argument based on the need to recognise that these things should be free. If it is argued that £1 million is needed in the form of collections so that more money may be raised for building and other things, the whole subject becomes confused. It is not just a question of compromise. The introduction of cash in order to achieve a quantitative effect in the provision of more money produces a qualitative effect. The thing itself is altered. I would far rather have £1 million less in the total of moneys given to the arts than that the principle of free access should be breached. That is what matters.
379 One of the problems is that many hon. Members opposite—I except the hon. Member for Louth, despite my regrets about his closing remarks, and I except other hon. Members opposite who have fought nobly—have given no sign, as Ministers have given no sign, of understanding the real importance of free access. It is not just that charges will keep away those who are too poor to pay, and there is no doubt that they will keep some away. Above all, they will stop the beginning of the art gallery and picture-going habit. They will stop its growth at the source.
It will be a problem for many people, including families with children. They will not save up and say "Next Sunday we will go in from the suburbs with our three children to the art gallery." A visit to an art gallery will not seem in the same category as a picnic outing or a walk. It will no longer be seen as just as natural as a walk to drop in on an art gallery. Hon. Members opposite have not understood this, and this is one of their errors which has led to the Bill.
It has been pointed out that we are in general dealing with the artefact whereas a concert is a living thing. I have no objections whatever to free concerts. The highest point of popular participation in the arts in Britain was during the war precisely when the nation was paying attention to bringing the arts to the people free. We all heard Myra Hess "up the road".
We give a great deal of money to assist those who can often afford to go to concerts. I do not begrudge that. Scottish opera is in a very fine condition just now. Much money is given in subsidies. Prices remain so high that it is a subsidy towards middle-class and upper-class attendance. I regret this. I would welcome higher subsidies if that meant that more people who were less well off could go. I repeat that I approve of the subsidy, but nevertheless in qualitative terms it is a subsidy to those who are already well off, because people are still left with the problem of finding anything from £2 to £5. However, the analogy was truer than was perhaps realised and perhaps the task in the twentieth century is not to diminish the principle but to extend it.
380 I do not blame the Under-Secretary of State for Health and Education, Scottish Office, for his perfunctory and disgraceful speech. The hon. Gentleman was ashamed of the Bill. We have a long tradition in Scotland in education and other spheres of the provision of these things free. We have our Carnegies, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, the State from the sixteenth century onwards. Of course, the hon. Gentleman was ashamed and perfunctory.
I go further and say that I feel equally sorry for the Under-Secretary of State for Education and Science. I feel sorry for the hon. Gentleman if he believes in the Bill. I feel sorry for him if he does not believe in it. He has been hooked on the face by the noble Lord in another place.
I hope that some day the Government will say "We were wrong. We withdraw this Measure." I do not believe that they would lose any credit if they did that. However, to save the face of the noble Lord, the poor old Under-Secretary has been put through all this. If a dirty, nasty, squalid, petty, mean, shabby little thing like this had to be done, the Government should not have asked a junior Minister to do it. As the noble Lord could not present it to this House, the Secretary of State for Education and Science herself should have been here. It was disgraceful for the Government to put the Under-Secretary through this so that he comes in for all the contempt. Poor people in generations yet unborn will have to read the rubbish that he spoke today about the National Portrait Gallery and his argument about the trustees with their scheme for the free day and the 40p charge on other days.
The argument against it was that this would deprive those people who deserve to get there. The whole Bill will deprive those who deserve to get there. If that is the Under-Secretary's argument, he should drop the Bill. The price of admission to the Tower of London is to be doubled: 20p goes up to 40p next year. That will make it eight times greater than the Prime Minister's norm. Even entrance fees going up to 10p is an increase of infinity; it is the Prime Minister's norm multiplied by infinity. Where is the sense in that?
381 9.30 p.m.
As the hon. Member for Louth said, it would be earth-shaking if a junior Minister were to say that in the absence of his master he would drop the Bill and face the consequences. We know that the hon. Gentleman cannot say it. I have been through the mill. I know that the hon. Gentleman is terrified—"feared", as we say in Scotland—to go back to his Department and say "I got beaten". This is the difficulty in government. Junior Ministers do not like to lose the argument. However, were he to do so his courage would not be diminished in the eyes of his friends and it would be an historic day.
What a tragedy it is that at the fag end of a Session in which the Government have turned tail on major issue after major issue they cannot turn tail on this one. Mr. Rees-Mogg, that well-known polemicist, talked in The Times about the Government's U-turn. When we change our policy, we have turned a somersault. When the Tories do it, they have done a U-turn even though they move from the horizontal to the vertical back through the horizontal.
It is a little thing that we are asking We have 30 minutes or so in which it can be done. Drop the Bill, lad, and go down in history.
§ 9.32 p.m.
§ Mr. Guy Barnett
I felt that there was a ready response by Ministers on the Treasury Bench to the remarks made by my hon. Friend the Member for Renfrew, West (Mr. Buchan), not least because of his vital point that no argument has been produced all the way through our discussions for raising the £1 million. No argument has been produced in favour of charges. This debate and previous debates have indicated beyond doubt that the Bill and its proposals produce problem after problem. The Under-Secretary has been able to make concessions, which we welcome, as to the disabled and as to guides. This is excellent.
Everyone can think of cases which deserve concessions. They need to be made to scholars. The discretion as to who may be admitted into a museum or gallery free of charge should lie with the trustees. Concessions are needed for members of the International Association of Art Critics. I have a letter written 382 by the secretary of the association saying that the consequence of the Bill is that Great Britain will be the only country where the association card will not be accepted. It seems that the Government have no concession to make in that direction.
An essential task—and I speak with feeling as a formed member of the Civil Service Union and of a museum staff—for members of the staffs of museums, whether we did it during working hours or when we were free, was to pay visits to other museums to gain ideas. Yet we have had no definite indication from the Paymaster-General as to what the situation will be for museum staffs. As soon as the principle of charging is introduced concession after concession has to be made, and in general the consequence of this is an atmosphere of meanness. The Under-Secretary has had to argue this impossible case. I can only sympathise with him.
It is important that the House should recognise the kind of consequences that these proposals are likely to have on the trustees of some of our institutions. I should like to illustrate this by mentioning the situation of the National Maritime Museum in my constituency. I shall seek to show that in a real sense the Secretary of State for Education and Science has exercised improper duress over the trustees of this Museum in the last few months. The trustees are governed by the National Maritime Act, 1934, by which they are granted power to manage and control their museum. It is specifically stated in the Act that they have power to make regulations as to charges. This is their business, their decision and as trustees they have a duty to the general public. If in their view they believe that the general public is best served by free entry then their view should prevail. What happened? The Under-Secretary—he is on record to this effect—has no intention of altering the Statute governing the National Maritime Museum. He made that clear on 17th January.
The Secretary of State was questioned during the debate on the White Paper about precisely what the situation was for the museum. She made it abundantly clear in her reply that she "required"—that was her word—the trustees to administer charges. She made it clear and unequivocal that that was in a real 383 sense an order given to the trustees of the museum. What were they to do? The Paymaster-General, with whom I have had correspondence on the subject, has written to say that the trustees did not oppose the administration of charges. Yet when I read the annual report for 1971 of the museum I see these words:It is not possible for the trustees to predict the effect on attendance of the requirement to charge visitors for admission which has been placed upon them by the Department of Education and Science but they are prepared for a substantial reduction. The effect of this requirement will be somewhat unfortunate at the National Maritime Museum. The buildings have a total of ten separate public entrances. Clearly to staff each entrance with ticket sellers and checkers would be to make it unlikely that any substantial net income would result. The Department of the Environment has been obliged, therefore, to fence off parts of the Royal Park in which the museum stands in order that charges for entry can be made at only four points. This has involved, besides the fences, the building of unsightly huts which in the entrance to the Old Royal Observatory has deprived the public of the unimpeded view of the Meridian Line in the Courtyard which was one of the museum's most popular exhibits and spoiled the delightful eighteenth century courtyard which was restored only three years ago. The trustees deplore the necessity for these developments.The whole tenor of those remarks in the Annual Report indicates to me that the trustees were entirely opposed to the idea of charging. They saw that the Secretary of State was requiring them to administer charges; they knew the extent to which they were beholden to the Treasury for the sums of money necessary to administer the museum and therefore as trustees it seems they were forced into taking a decision which was contrary to their best judgment of their duty towards the public. I believe that this has resulted in the kind of things that have happened ever since that requirement was laid down. It resulted in the erection of obscene kiosks at the various entrances of the museum and to the Royal Observatory. As I understand the sequence of events, the Department of Education and Science required the huts to be in position by 1st January of this year, long before Parliament had made a final decision as to what ought to be done. In law the trustees have a right to make the decision whether charges should be administered, but they were under duress as a consequence of the words of the Secretary of 384 State for Education and Science. I felt it right to follow that up and I have come into possession of a letter written by the chairman of the trustees of the National Maritime Museum that establishes beyond doubt that the majority view of the trustees was opposed to charging. The chairman of the trustees, in a letter of 26th September, 1972, written to a Mr. Hugh Leggatt said:As regards the major question of charging admission, when this intention was published the trustees discussed which course of action to take at length. Opposition to the idea of charging for admittance was by no means unanimous and the chairman, then Lord Runciman, decided we should not oppose the Government on this issue. This still remains our policy.The only interpretation which I can read into those words is that when the discussion took place there was widespread and almost certainly a majority opinion amongst the trustees of their responsibility towards the public, that it was wrong for them to charge and their responsibilities demanded that they should not do so.
Kiosks have been erected in various places round the Maritime Museum, only for it to be discovered at a late date that it is illegal to erect these things in a royal park. They are now being dismantled, but I discovered yesterday that three are still left. The total cost of erecting them and taking them down, on the admission of the Government, is £10,000. These events are only an indication—
§ Mr. Barnett
I apologise for straying from the principle of the Bill. The purport of what I was saying was that the consequence of the Bill was to lay duties upon the trustees which they should not be expected to undertake and which in their position was harmful. Nevertheless, the consequences of the introduction of the Bill in Parliament and its passing into law can do nothing but damage to our museums and galleries.
385 We could continue debating the Bill and in doing so we would continue to discover further exceptions which would need to be made to minimise the damage likely to be done. In doing so one reaches a highly complicated situation. Everything will be lost by the decision which the Bill embodies to end the principle of free entry to these institutions, which seems to have been one of the finest principles governing our museums.
§ 9.44 p.m.
§ Mr. Strauss
The most remarkable feature about this debate is that it is taking place at all. When the proposals were first introduced about two years ago they were met with such a storm of opposition and derision by everybody in the art world, the education world, the trustees of the museums and galleries, artists and practically all educated people, and almost without exception every newspaper, that it seemed clear that these proposals, which were thought out and produced in the heat of the moment shortly after the election in an atmosphere of euphoria, would be shortlived and that sense would come into the minds of the Government and they would say "We will not proceed with this Measure."
But that is not what has happened. In spite of the fervour of the opposition, not only of all the trustees of the museums and galleries, which has continued unabated during the last two years, and although public opinion has continued in strong opposition, the Government have persisted with the Bill, and now submit it to us in its last stage.
It may well be said that public protest today is muted compared with what it was two years ago. That is inevitable. The public has to put up with evil that is imposed upon it and in the course of time, when it comes to believe that the evil in unavoidable, it accepts it. It would be quite wrong, however, for the Government to think that the strong feelings of opposition, resentment and indignation that existed when these proposals were first put forward have abated or that the public will forgive or forget what the Government have done.
I should like briefly to recall the main reasons why the Labour Party and most people outside the Labour Party interested in art affairs consider the Bill an anti-art and anti-social abomination. The 386 first reason has been stated many times this evening and I will not develop it. I should have thought it would be undeniable that the Bill reversed the civilised tradition of our country to allow free access to the nation's art treasures, free access for everybody in the country, rich and poor, native and foreigner, a tradition we have had for 200 years and one which was worthy of preservation unless something so dramatic or important happened that forced the nation to reverse it: but nothing of the sort has happened.
The tradition of free entry to our national museums and galleries has operated for 200 years, in times of the greatest economic stringency. No Government before ever thought it necessary to put a tax on visitors to museums and galleries to gather in a little money for the Exchequer.
I anticipate an argument which I know the Under-Secretary will make, as he has made it on every occasion, and I deal with it once more. He will tell us that there have been entrance fees for many years into places such as Hampton Court and the Tower of London. Of course there have, but the situation there is entirely different. Entrance fees for tourists visiting the Tower of London and to see the Crown Jewels, or the State Rooms at Hampton Court, are one thing, and there may or may not be a case for charging.
But here we are dealing with our great treasure houses of art, owned by and belonging to the nation, and exhibited in our national museums and galleries. Never before has there been a tax on visitors to these major institutions.
Why have the Government caused all this disturbance, annoyance and anger in order to rake in £1 million a year? What nonsense it all is! One million pounds! It costs £18 million a year for the upkeep of those galleries and museums, so the contribution of £1 million is insignificant. Moreover, when compared with the £1,400 million of tax reduction which the Chancellor announced to the House earlier this year the raising of this £1 million of extra money for the Treasury is utterly illogical. It is economic and social lunacy.
The hon. Member for Ipswich (Mr. Money) says "But we are to develop the visual arts. We shall require more space, 387 more galleries, to house the exhibits. It is therefore essential to raise this money." That is a ridiculous argument. First, it muddles annual expenditure and capital expenditure. It is ridiculous to suggest that because the Government will spend many millions of pounds during the next 10 years on necessary buildings to house our art, engineering and scientific exhibits the money must be raised by taxing museum-goers to the extent of £1 million. Many more millions of pounds will be paid by the Government to develop our existing schools and to build new schools—tens of millions every year—but it is not suggested that that money should be raised by a special tax on the parents of the children going to the schools.
Up to now it has always been regarded in this civilised country as one of the duties of the Government to house the arts, most of which have been given to the nation and belong to the people—that the housing of the arts is a duty of the Government so that the people shall be able to go freely to enjoy what is theirs. That has been our tradition, and a very fine one. Now, however, on the ground that we must spend money to provide new buildings, this £1 million tax is to be imposed.
We were told today that the housing of the Asian refugees from Uganda in the camps will cost £1 million a month. No one objects to that. It is necessary and that money will come from the Treasury. At the same time the Government insist on raising £1 million a year from gallery and museum visitors. It is ridiculous.
Another reason why we object to the Bill is that it plainly erects a divisive financial barrier against the poorest section of the community, those on low wages, those on social security benefits, and children. They will have greater difficulty than ever before in visiting our museums and galleries and enjoying the art treasures there. Instead of creating greater equality of opportunity among the classes, the Government are deliberately by the Bill creating an inequality which did not exist before.
Contrary to what Ministers speaking on the subject in the past have told us, the entrance charges are keeping people out of the museums. My hon. Friend the Member for Smethwick (Mr. Faulds) 388 quoted impressive figures showing quite clearly that because of the belief now generally held that the entrance charges are already in existence the number of visitors to the National Gallery and other galleries fell substantially during the summer months, by tens of thousands. But as soon as the trustees put up notices saying "Entrance Free", the number of visitors rose substantially above that of last year. The Government may be pleased or sorry about it, but the result of these entrance charges will undoubtedly be to keep a large number of people away from the galleries, to stop them viewing the possessions they own.
We have been told that this has been done because of a bargain which the Chancellor of the Exchequer made shortly after the 1970 election by which the Minister for the Arts undertook to provide the Treasury with £1 million a year. This is an extraordinary situation. I have never before heard of a situation in which the Chancellor of the Exchequer has said to a Minister "Your Department has to provide me with a certain figure by taxing people who use the benefits it provides, and that figure has to be a minimum". The Chancellor of the Exchequer said to Lord Eccles "You have to provide me with £1 million" and Lord Eccles promised to do so. As a result, when we press for some concession for children, for old-age pensioners, or for someone else, we are told "We cannot do that. My promise to the Chancellor must stand".
But who is the Chancellor of the Exchequer? Ministers talk as though he were some foreign bankers consortium but he is the Government, and Government decisions and administration are the collective responsibility of all Ministers. To say that one Minister has to do something because he has promised another Minister to do so, and to use it as an excuse to ask for the sympathy and support of the House in order that he may discharge an obligation to another Minister whose word is final and to whom a promise cannot be broken, is utterly ridiculous. But that is what has been happening.
When we urge that children should be allowed to go into museums and galleries free—children on their own, apart from school parties—and that plea has been made a number of times from both sides of the House today, we are told "That 389 is not possible. That will cost the Chancellor of the Exchequer £150,000 a year." What absolute nonsense that is. It is a terrible thing for the Government—not the Chancellor of the Exchequer, but the Government—to say that children are to be deprived of their ability to go to museums and galleries free and thus, as one of my hon. Friends so aptly put it, have their museum-going habits inhibited while they are still children. It is a grave indictment of the Government that for the sake of £150,000 they are adamant in their determination not to allow children to enter free as this would be breaking a promise made to the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
This is the argument used moreover by the Minister of Education, one who is responsible for the good education of our children. If a Minister of Education knew his or her stuff properly, rather than charge children to go into museums, he or she would pay them to do so.
I remind the House that the cost of collecting this tax will be immense. The Under-Secretary of State keeps on saying that it is not a tax, but of course it is. It is a tax in exactly the same way as entertainment duty was a tax. People going to theatres, concerts and the like had at one time to pay an entertainment tax of a certain amount. In just the same way, visitors to museums and galleries will have to pay the entrance tax before going in.
As I say, the cost of collection will be immense. The average cost of all our museums and galleries together amounts to 16 per cent. of their total income. In the case of the Maritime Museum it will be 32 per cent., and in the case of the Wallace Museum 33 per cent.
I want to say just a word about Lord Eccles and his relationship to this proposal. It is one of the most remarkable features of the Bill that it was brought in by Lord Eccles. He was chairman of the British Museum Trustees for a long time, and a very able and effective chairman he was. When he was chairman he made a statement—
§ It being Ten o'clock, the debate stood adjourned.
That the Museums and Galleries Admission Charges Bill [Lords] may be proceeded with
at this day's Sitting, though opposed, until any hour.—[Mr. Gray.]
§ Question again proposed, That the Bill be now read the Third time.
§ Mr. Strauss
Lord Eccles made a statement in which he said he was opposed to charging visitors to the British Museum to go in. When the Government tried to override decisions of the trustees, Lord Eccles became very angry. He fought the Government—it was the last Government—and said the trustees would not put up with that, that they must exercise their own discretion over functions for which they were responsible and that they would not accept the Government's decisions. That was in connection with the development of the Bloomsbury site. He stood up for the right of the trustees to decide important matters themselves. I am certain that if Lord Eccles were still chairman of the trustees of the British Museum he would fight these proposals with passion.
There is another reason why I find it strange that Lord Eccles should take this line. He is, as we all know, a lover of art and he is a connoisseur of art. He has, moreover, a very fine private collection of art in his own home which he is able to enjoy at leisure any time he likes, every day. He is a fortunate man in being able to do so. But it seems to me that it ill behoves someone in his privileged position to introduce a Bill which makes it difficult and often impossible for the poorer sections of the community to enjoy the beautiful pictures in the national museums and galleries and to sponsor a Measure which deprives them of a centuries-old right to do so. It is wrong that someone in his position, with that fine collection of art in his own home, should stop other people who are not so well off from enjoying art in the national museums and galleries.
It is no use at this stage asking hon. Members on the Government side to turn the Bill down. I know that such an appeal would not be listened to. I believe that if at an earlier stage there had been a secret ballot of Conservative Members of the House, asking them "Would it not be wise to drop this unpopular Measure before too much damage is done to your party's public reputation?" there would have been an overwhelming answer of "Yes". It is too late now. The Government have insisted and have been 391 obstinate in the matter, and Lord Eccles or the Prime Minister has been too small minded to come to Parliament and say "We will withdraw the Bill". At the present moment I cannot hope to appeal to the House on that ground to vote the Measure down, though I would like to do so.
All I can do, therefore, is to ask hon. Members who support the Bill tonight to bear certain things in mind. One is that the measures in the Bill are still today strenuously disliked by practically every trustee of every museum and gallery in the country and that the art world and the educational world are today in as much opposition to the Bill as they were when it was first introduced. Secondly, I would ask them to bear in mind that the Bill is erecting a very real barrier against access to our museums and galleries by the poorer sections of our community. Thirdly, I would ask them to bear in mind that it is violating the civilised tradition which we have had for many years of free access to our museums and galleries, a tradition which has been a source of pride at home and of respect and admiration abroad.
One further thing I ask hon. Members opposite to bear in mind. The proposals in the Bill are diametrically opposed to the philosophy of the Labour Party. I am not in a position to pledge the next Labour Government, but hon. Members opposite know as well as I do that at the first opportunity that Government will repeal the Bill.
§ 10.5 p.m.
§ Mr. van Straubenzee
We come to the end of a day-long discussion, and of many discussions before that, of this simple and short Bill, which, of course, has considerable ramifications beyond the wording strictly within it. I will do my best to deal with the principles that have been erected but it may be convenient if I do so with reasonable briskness.
§ Dr. Tom Stuttaford (Norwich, South)
I hope my hon. Friend will not be too brisk, because many of us on this side are anxious to hear what he has to say so that we may know which way we are going to vote.
§ Mr. van Straubenzee
I am glad to know that, but it would have been helpful if such hon. Members, in addition to 392 the few who were here today, had been also present to hear the matter more fully discussed.
There have been various references to principles. I will take first the three final points put by the right hon. Member for Vauxhall (Mr. Strauss). I still do not believe that anyone in the debate has identified the principle that really matters. I simply do not accept that a principle is involved in the charging for admission to our national museums and galleries. As the right hon. Gentleman has freely conceded, at times past in some of them charges have been made, and with a large number of the others the power to do so has been there by their enabling Acts, and when almost identically parallel galleries and museums in other parts of the country do charge, on this occasion I cannot see the matter of principle.
I cannot see a matter of principle on the basis that there is something exceptional about the visual arts. We do not claim this principle with ballet, with music or with other arts. Yet we subsidise them heavily and many of us would like to do increasingly better. Indeed, that is happening through the media of the Arts Council and so on. But I cannot find some special principle in the selection of this particular form of art.
Where I do find the principle is against the background of a massive expansion programme—and massive it not only is but is conceded to be by the Opposition. That principle is whether it is right that the entire weight of the expansion should be borne by the taxpayers or whether it is reasonable that a single small segment of it should be borne by those who enjoy the galleries and museums. That is the principle and on that basis it is reasonable to proceed as we have proceeded.
I say to my hon. Friend the Member for Louth (Mr. Jeffrey Archer), whose splendid speech we listened to with the closest of attention, except for the disaster at the end, that he represents a very large number of people in Louth who are taxpayers who have, regrettably, no more than an occasional ability to see these splendid collections. He also has a duty to them and not just to those like himself and like myself who enjoy these collections.
I am asked whether there is not grave discourtesy to trustees in making a 393 request to them which it is felt carries something of the iron in the velvet glove. But who is talking when this accusation is made? Does the House not remember how the Labour Government, in an exactly parallel situation, worked? The financing of the universities is almost precisely the same in principle as the method by which the Treasury finances almost exclusively the trustees we are now talking of. The Labour Government made a precisely similar request in terms of the fees charged at universities. Quite understandably, since they were wholly dependent on Government finance, the university trustees agreed to it. There is no new principle involved here except that against the background of expansion, which is the key to the situation. If we cannot get these new galleries and cannot have the new buildings set out in the White Paper, to which great tribute has rightly been paid, if we cannot expand the physical facilities, we shall not be able to give people the opportunities they should have of enjoying the visual arts.
Increasingly, the visual arts will be contributed to from abroad. I wonder how many hon. Members, for example, have enjoyed the incomparable richness of the neo-classical exhibitions at Burlington House and the Victoria and Albert Museum, and the delightful little one at Hampstead, where it is possible to see Mr. Hugh Leggatt's generous gift to the nation in very pleasant surroundings. In all three places, large numbers of people are paying.
The right hon. Gentleman at an earlier stage reckoned that he would think that charging was all right for special exhibitions. I take the diametrically opposite view. I trust that we shall move to a state when, with the new arrangements, at special exhibitions, when incomparable art is brought together from all over Europe for the enjoyment of us all, large
§ entrance charges will not be appropriate. How there is a hunger for it in the year of the Tutankhamen exhibition it is hardly necessary to say. That is the principle involved against a background of expansion.
On the charging system itself, once again on behalf of the Government I have responded today in terms which have been generously welcomed. I am thinking of the special provisions for the disabled and so on. This is why a fair and responsive charging scheme makes a deal of sense against this background. That is why I commend the Bill to the House.
§ 10.13 p.m.
§ Dr. Stuttaford rose—
§ Hon. Members: No.
§ Dr. Stuttaford
I was not called earlier, and there are one or two points I must take up with my hon. Friend. There is a great difference between the specialised exhibition and the constant exhibition. The paintings with which we are concerned were given to the nation to be looked at by the nation when people want to see them. It is as absurd to charge people to look at the paintings which belong to the nation and which hang regularly in museums as it would be to expect those who live in the richer households to pay to see their own paintings hanging in their own drawing rooms.
This Bill has little support in the country, whether it be at the bottom or at the top of society. I have not been moved one inch from my original view by the speech of my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State.
§ Question put, That the Bill be now read the Third time:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 233, Noes 228.397
|Division No. 339.]||AYES||[10.13 p.m.|
|Adley, Robert||Blaker, Peter||Burden, F. A.|
|Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash)||Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S.W.)||Butler, Adam (Bosworth)|
|Amery, Rt. Hn. Julian||Body, Richard||Campbell, Rt.Hn.G.(Moray & Nairn)|
|Astor, John||Boscawen, Hn. Robert||Carlisle, Mark|
|Atkins, Humphrey||Bossom, Sir Clive||Carr, Rt. Hn. Robert|
|Awdry, Daniel||Bowden, Andrew||Channon, Paul|
|Baker, Kenneth (St. Marylebone)||Braine, Sir Bernard||Chichester-Clark, R.|
|Baker, W. H. K. (Banff)||Bray, Ronald||Churchill, W. S.|
|Balniel, Rt. Hon. Lord||Brinton, Sir Tatton||Clark, William (Surrey, E.)|
|Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton||Brown, Sir Edward (Bath)||Clarke, Kennet[...] (Rushcliffe)|
|Benyon, W.||Bruce-Gardyne, J.||Clegg, Walter|
|Berry, Hn. Anthony||Buchanan-Smith, Alick (Angus, N&M)||Cockeram, Eric|
|Biffen, John||Buck, Antony||Cooke, Robert|
|Biggs-Davison, John||Bullus, Sir Eric||Coombs, Derek|
|Cooper, A. E.||Kellett-Bowman, Mrs. Elaine||Proudfoot, Wilfred|
|Corfield, Rt. Hn. Sir Frederick||Kershaw, Anthony||Pym, Rt. Hn. Francis|
|Costain, A. P.||Kilfedder, James||Quennell, Miss J. M.|
|Crouch, David||Kimball, Marcus||Raison, Timothy|
|Crowder, F. P.||King, Tom (Bridgwater)||Ramsden, Rt. Hn. James|
|d'Avigdor-Goldsmid,Ma[...].-Gen.Jack||Kinsey, J. R.||Rawlinson, Rt. Hn. Sir Peter|
|Dean, Paul||Kirk, Peter||Redmond, Robert|
|Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F.||Knight, Mrs. Jill||Reed, Laurance (Bolton, E.)|
|Dixon, Piers||Knox, David||Rees, Peter (Dover)|
|Elliott, R. W. (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne,N.)||Lambton, Lord||Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David|
|Emery, Peter||Lamont, Norman||Ridley, Hn. Nicholas|
|Eyre, Reginald||Lane, David||Ridsdale, Julian|
|Farr, John||Langford-Holt, Sir John||Roberts, Michael (Cardiff, N.)|
|Fell, Anthony||Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry||Roberts, Wyn (Conway)|
|Fenner, Mrs. Peggy||Le Marchant, Spencer||Rost, Peter|
|Fidler, Michael||Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)||Royle, Anthony|
|Fletcher-Cooke, Charles||Lloyd, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey (Sut'nC'field)||Russell, Sir Ronald|
|Fookes, Miss Janet||Longden, Sir Gilbert||St. John-Stevas, Norman|
|Fortescue, Tim||Luce, R. N.||Scott, Nicholas|
|Foster, Sir John||McAdden, Sir Stephen||Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby)|
|Fowler, Norman||MacArthur, Ian||Shelton, William (Clapham)|
|Fraser, Rt. Hn. Hugh (St'fford & Stone)||McCrindle, R. A.||Simeons, Charles|
|Fry, Peter||McLaren, Martin||Sinclair, Sir George|
|Galbraith, Hn. T. G. D.||Maclean, Sir Fitzroy||Smith, Dudley (W'wick & L'mington)|
|Gibson-Watt, David||Macmillan, Rt. Hon. Maurice (Farnham)||Soref, Harold|
|Gilmour, Sir John (Fife, E.)||McNair-Wilson, Michael||Spence, John|
|Glyn, Dr. Alan||McNair-Wilson, Patrick (New Forest)||Sproat, Iain|
|Goodhew, Victor||Maddan, Martin||Stodart, Anthony (Edinburgh, W.)|
|Gorst, John||Madel, David||Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir M.|
|Gower, Raymond||Maginnis, John E.||Stokes, John|
|Grant, Anthony (Harrow, C.)||Marples, Rt. Hn. Ernest||Sutcliffe, John|
|Green, Alan||Marten, Neil||Tapsell, Peter|
|Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds)||Maudling, Rt. Hn. Reginald||Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)|
|Grylls Michael||Mawby, Ray||Taylor, Robert (Croydon, N.W.)|
|Gummer, J. Selwyn||Meyer, Sir Anthony||Tebbit, Norman|
|Gurden, Harold||Mills, Peter (Torrington)||Temple, John M.|
|Hall, Miss Joan (Keighley)||Miscampbell, Norman||Thatcher, Rt. Hn. Mrs. Margaret|
|Hall-Davis A. G. F.||Mitchell, Lt.-Col.C. (Aberdeenshire, W)||Thomas, John Stradling (Monmouth)|
|Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury)||Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)||Thomas, Rt. Hn. Peter (Hendon, S.)|
|Hannam, John (Exeter)||Money, Ernle||Thompson, Sir Richard (Croydon, S.)|
|Monks, Mrs. Connie||Trafford, Dr. Anthony|
|Harrison, Brian (Maldon)||Monro, Hector||Trew, Peter|
|Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye)||Montgomery, Fergus||Tugendhat, Christopher|
|Havers, Michael||More, Jasper||Turton, Rt. Hn. Sir Robin|
|Hawkins, Paul||Morgan, Geraint (Denbigh)||van Straubenzee, W. R.|
|Hayhoe, Barney||Morgan-Giles, Rear-Adm.||Vaughan, Gerard|
|Hicks, Robert||Morrison, Charles||Waddington, David|
|Higgins, Terence L.||Murton, Oscar||Walker, Rt. Hn. Peter (Worcester)|
|Hiley, Joseph||Neave, Alrey||Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek|
|Hill, James (Southampton, Test)||Nicholls, Sir Harmar||Ward, Dame Irene|
|Holland, Philip||Noble, Rt. Hn. Michael||Warren, Kenneth|
|Holt, Miss Mary||Normanton, Tom||Weatherill, Bernard|
|Hordern, Peter||Nott, John||Wells, John (Maidstone)|
|Hornby, Richard||Onslow, Cranley||Whitelaw, Rt. Hn. William|
|Howe, Hn. Sir Geoffrey (Reigate)||Oppenheim, Mrs. Sally||Wilkinson, John|
|Howell, Ralph (Norfolk, N.)||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.||Winterton, Nicholas|
|Hunt, John||Osborn, John||Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick|
|Iremonger, T. L.||Owen, Idris (Stockport, N.)||Woodnutt, Mark|
|James, David||Page, Rt. Hn. Graham (Crosby)||Worsley, Marcus|
|Jenkins, Patrick (Woodford)||Page, John (Harrow, W.)||Wylie, Rt. Hn. N. R.|
|Jennings, J. C. (Burton)||Parkinson, Cecil|
|Jessel, Toby||Pink, R. Bonner|
|Jopling, Michael||Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Joseph, Rt. Hn. Sir Keith||Price, David (Eastleigh)||Mr. Marcus Fox and|
|Kaberry, Sir Donald||Prior, Rt. Hn. J. M. L.||Mr. Hamish Gray.|
|Abse, Leo||Bennett, James (Glasgow, Bridgeton)||Carter-Jones, Lewis (Eccles)|
|Albu, Austen||Bidwell, Sydney||Castle, Rt. Hn. Barbara|
|Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)||Bishop, E. S.||Clark, David (Colne Valley)|
|Allen, Scholefield||Boardman, H. (Leigh)||Cocks, Michael (Bristol, S.)|
|Archer, Jeffrey (Louth)||Booth, Albert||Cohen, Stanley|
|Archer, Peter (Rowley Regis)||Bradley, Tom||Concannon, J. D.|
|Armstrong, Ernest||Broughton, Sir Alfred||Conlan, Bernard|
|Ashley, Jack||Brown, Robert C. (N'c'tle-u-Tyne, W.)||Corbel, Mrs. Freda|
|Ashton, Joe||Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan)||Cox, Thomas (Wandsworth, C.)|
|Atkinson, Norman||Brown, Ronald (Shoreditch & F'bury)||Crawshaw, Richard|
|Bagier, Gordon A. T.||Buchan, Norman||Cronin, John|
|Barnes, Michael||Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn)||Crosland, Rt. Hn. Anthony|
|Barnett, Guy (Greenwich)||Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)||Cunningham, Dr. J. A. (Whitehaven)|
|Barnett, Joel (Heywood and Royton)||Callaghan, Rt. Hn. James||Dalyell, Tam|
|Baxter, William||Campbell, [...]. (Dunbartonshire, W.)||Davies, Denzil (Llanelly)|
|Beaney, Alan||Cant, R. B.||Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.)|
|Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony Wedgwood||Carmichael, Neil||Davies, Ifor (Gower)|
|Davis, Clinton (Hackney, C.)||Jones, Rt. Hn. Sir Elwyn (W.Ham, S.)||Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Davis, Terry (Bromsgrove)||Jones, Gwynoro (Carmarthen)||Probert, Arthur|
|Deakins, Eric||Jones, T. Alec (Rhondda, W.)||Reed, D. (Sedgefield)|
|de Freitas, Rt. Hn. Sir Geoffrey||Kaufman, Gerald||Rees, Merlyn (Leeds, S.)|
|Dell, Rt. Hn. Edmund||Kelley, Richard||Rhodes, Geoffrey|
|Dempsey, James||Lambie, David||Richard, Ivor|
|Doig, Peter||Lamborn, Harry||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)|
|Dormand, J. D.||Lamond, James||Roberts, Rt. Hn. Goronwy (Caernarvon)|
|Douglas, Dick (Stirlingshire, E.)||Latham, Arthur||Roderick, Caerwyn E.(Brc'n&R'dnor)|
|Douglas-Mann, Bruce||Lawson, George||Rodgers, William (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Driberg, Tom||Leadbitter, Ted||Rose, Paul B.|
|Dunnett, Jack||Lee, Rt. Hn. Frederick||Ross, Rt. Hn. William (Kilmarnock)|
|Eadie, Alex||Leonard, Dick||Rowlands, Ted|
|Edelman, Maurice||Lever, Rt. Hn. Harold||Sandelson, Neville|
|Edwards, Robert (Bilston)||Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)||Sheldon, Robert (Ashton-under-Lyne)|
|Ellis, Tom||Lipton, Marcus||Shore, Rt. Hn. Peter (Stepney)|
|English, Michael||Lomas, Kenneth||Short, Rt. Hn. Edward (N'c'tle-u-Tyne)|
|Evans, Fred||Lyon, Alexander W. (York)||Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford)|
|Ewing, Harry||Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.)||Silkin, Hn. S. C. (Dulwich)|
|Faulds, Andrew||McBride, Neil||Sillars, James|
|Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)||McCartney. Hugh||Silverman, Julius|
|Foot, Michael||McGuire, Michael||Skinner, Dennis|
|Ford, Ben||Mackenzie, Gregor||Smith, John (Lanarkshire, N.)|
|Forrester, John||Mackie, John||Spearing, Nigel|
|Fraser, John (Norwood)||Mackintosh, John P.||Spriggs, Leslie|
|Freeson, Reginald||McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.)||Stallard, A. W.|
|Galpern, Sir Myer||McNamara, J. Kevin||Stanbrook, Ivor|
|Garrett, W. E.||Mahon, Simon (Bootle)||Stoddart, David (Swindon)|
|Gilbert, Dr. John||Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)||Stonehouse, Rt. Hn. John|
|Ginsburg, David (Dewsbury)||Marsden, F.||Strang, Gavin|
|Golding, John||Marshall, Dr. Edmund||Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R.|
|Gourley, Harry||Mason, Rt. Hn. Roy||Stuttaford, Dr. Tom|
|Grant, George (Morpeth)||Meacher, Michael||Summerskill, Hn. Dr. Shirley|
|Grant, John D. (Islington, E.)||Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert||Swain, Thomas|
|Griffiths, Eddie (Brightside)||Mendelson, John||Thomas, Rt. Hn. George (Cardiff, W.)|
|Griffiths, Will (Exchange)||Milne, Edward||Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)|
|Mitchell, R. C. (S'hampton, Itchen)||Thomson, Rt. Hn. G. (Dundee, E.)|
|Hamilton, James (Bothwell)||Morgan, Elysian (Cardiganshire)||Torney, Tom|
|Hamilton, William (Fife, W.)||Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)||Tuck, Raphael|
|Hannan, William (G'gow, Maryhill)||Moyle, Roland||Urwin, T. W.|
|Hardy, Peter||Mulley, Rt. Hn. Frederick||Varley, Eric G.|
|Harrison, Walter (Wakefield)||Murray, Ronald King||Wainwright, Edwin|
|Hattersley, Roy||Oakes, Gordon||Walden, Brian (B'm'ham, All Saints)|
|Heffer, Eric S.||Ogden, Eric||Walker, Harold (Doncaster)|
|Hilton, W. S.||O'Halloran, Michael||Wallace, George|
|Hooson, Emlyn||O'Malley, Brian||Weitzman, David|
|Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas||Orem, Bert||Wells, William (Walsall, N.)|
|Huckfield, Leslie||Orme, Stanley||White, James (Glasgow, Pollok)|
|Hughes, Rt. Hn. Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Oswald, Thomas||Whitehead, Phillip|
|Hughes, Mark (Durham)||Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, Sutton)||Whitlock, William|
|Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen, N.)||Paget, R. T.||Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick|
|Hughes, Roy (Newport)||Palmer, Arthur||Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)|
|Hunter, Adam||Pannell, Rt. Hn. Charles||Williams, Mrs. Shirley (Hitchin)|
|Irvine, Rt. Hn. Sir Arthur (Edge Hill)||Parker, John (Dagenham)||Williams, W. T. (Warrington)|
|Janner, Greville||Parry, Robert (Liverpool, Exchange)||Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)|
|Jay, Rt. Hn. Douglas||Pavitt, Laurie||Woof, Robert|
|Jenkins, Hugh (Putney)||Pendry, Tom|
|John, Brynmor||Pentland, Norman||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)||Perry, Ernest G.||Mr. Joseph Harper and|
|Johnson, Walter (Derby, S.)||Prentice, Rt. Hn. Reg.||Mr. James A. Dunn.|
|Jones, Dan (Burnley)||Prescott, John|
§ Question accordingly agreed to.
§ Bill accordingly read the Third time and passed, with Amendments.