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British select committee oficials have visited Athens

A report from the Department of Culture Media & Sport’s select committee claims amongst other things that they are disappointed that Greece is not willing to accept the proposals offered by the British Museum with regard to the Elgin Marbles. It appears that the proposals are rather one sided though – the British Museum gets to keep everything they already have & they send some casts to the Greeks. It is not hard to see why they would have rejected this.

The Guardian [1]

Olympics cash ‘should be paid back’
Press Association
Monday June 25, 2007 1:08 AM

Lottery money being diverted from British museums and galleries to pay for the 2012 Olympics should be treated as a loan and repaid, a report has said.

The Culture, Media and Sport committee expressed “deep concern” about the impact on Britain’s heritage sector of diverting lottery funds towards the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

No more money should be drained from the Heritage Lottery Fund or other lottery distributors if the Olympic bill exceeds the figure set out by Tessa Jowell on March 15, the report Caring for Our Collections urged.

It also called on the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to confirm its intention that diverted funds should be treated as a loan with the money repaid by selling land after the Olympics to reimburse the heritage sector.

The report also bemoaned the high price of art which makes it more difficult for museums to keep their collections growing and developing.

The committee recommended the Department for Culture, Media and Sport give extra powers to public institutions that want to match an offer for export-deferred cultural objects.

The committee also criticised the lack of progress in encouraging philanthropy to support the heritage sector.

The report touched on the controversial debate over returning the Elgin Marbles to Greece. The sculptures were removed from the Parthenon in Athens in the 19th century and have been on display in The British Museum since 1816.

The committee said it was “disappointed” that casts supplied by the British Museum will not be displayed at the New Acropolis Museum.

It also said the decision on whether to return the originals should be made by the Trustees of the British Museum.

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