The state has an obligation, which it has until very recently always respected, to provide adequate financing for the day-to-day running of these unequalled public educational assets. But owing to repeated cuts over recent years, trustees are now being compelled - often much against their wishes - to exploit their collections by holding the public to ransom for access to its own property.
In my view this is totally unacceptable as a matter of basic principle (and so going beyond any attempts to alleviate the impact of charging). Writing as a collector with something to offer, I am all in favour of genuine partnership between the private sector and the state for the benefit of the public. But if and when the state falls short of its evident duty I shall feel most sadly driven to reconsider my own possible involvement.
Sir DENIS MAHON
London SW1Reuse content