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MOST COUNCILS FAVOUR NEW BODY FOR LIBRARIES, MUSEUMS AND GALLERIES, SAYS MINISTER

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Hansard 14 Dec:Column 1099 ...
Hansard 14 Dec:Column 1099

Government spokesman Lord McIntosh of Haringey refuted claims in the lords yesterday that most people involved in consultation were opposed to the merger of the Library and Information Commission and the Museum and Galleries Commission.

Culture secretary Chris Smith had earlier announced in the commons his decision to replace both commissions with a new strategic body for libraries, museums and archives.

Lord Morris of Castle Morris asked what arguments were so compelling when the clear majorities of the undoubted experts in the two areas were against merger.

Lord McIntosh, however, said: 'Of the responses to the consultation on the issue, 63 were in favour, 21 against and the remainder - a minority - were neutral or made other comments. So it is not the case

that a majority of respondents were against the proposed merger. It is true that the Museums and Galleries Commission and the National Museum Directors Conference were both opposed to the merger, but the Library and Information Commission and a large majority of local authorities were in favour...

'There are matters in common between museums and libraries as they move from a responsibility for display and conservation into the field of information and education and, generally, into knowledge and

understanding'.

He said because local authorities co-ordinated cultural matters, they would be able to refer to the new commission, which would be able to give strategic advice to government on all issues concerning those

local authority departments.

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