Letter: Museum charges

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Sir: The proposed introduction of admission charges to our national museums and galleries is a pernicious idea and must be vigorously resisted.

It can't be denied that the imposition of admission fees will inevitably prevent the least well off in society benefiting from and enjoying our rich national collections. As a Londoner growing up in Brixton with very limited resources, my only exposure to "high culture" was from visits to the Tate Gallery, National Gallery and the British Museum. These visits greatly enriched my life and nurtured my passion for the visual arts. However, had there been admission charges, that would not have been possible.

The introduction of admission charges would, at a stroke, make art exclusive. For many people - and there are thousands of them - day-to-day life is a struggle.

How on earth can a Labour government justify such a parsimonious attitude towards our great national collections, while at the same time defending, without hesitation, spending pounds 400-plus million on the Millennium Dome, a scheme with very limited life expectancy and which does not enjoy widespread popular support.KEVIN DRISCOLL