John Glen MP
The new culture minister John Glen MP spoke at the launch of The British Art Market 2017 report, by Arts Economics founder Clare McAndrew. The event was hosted by BAMF chairman Anthony Browne. Image: DCMS/John Glen.

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The MP for Salisbury, who took on the post of minister for arts, heritage and tourism in the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) last month, said: “I have an enthusiasm and awareness for the value of the art trade in this country.”

Speaking at the British Art Market Federation’s (BAMF) 2017 report launch at the RICS headquarters overlooking Parliament Square, Glen said: “I am in listening mode. You have a friend in me... I will do all I can to support you.” 

The British Art Market 2017 report, by Arts Economics founder Clare McAndrew, was presented to MPs in Portcullis House during the afternoon prior to the reception at the RICS event on Tuesday, July 18. Around a dozen MPs attended the event in parliament. 

Glen said he understood that the UK art market is a “global success story” but that it needs the support of government. 

BAMF is focused on persuading government to change some EU-originated laws to improve its competitiveness, with a focus on scrapping import VAT and a rethink on Artist's Resale Right. 

"Cross-border trade is absolutely key"

Glen added: “There are interests we need to resolve. I look forward to working hard for you over the coming months.”

Launching the report, BAMF chairman Anthony Browne said: “The UK is by far the largest art market in Europe but there is no room for complacency. Cross-border trade is absolutely key.”

“Much of the EU legislation has not paid enough attention on how we compete with the wider world. From March 2019 it will be up to our own government to make these decisions and it is a golden opportunity for us."

He added: “Brexit, of course, presents problems for us but it is not an insuperable problem. The short-term difficulties will be outweighed by the longer-term advantages.

“This is a great opportunity and I hope government will seize it.”

Browne spoke to ATG about his role at BAMF and its plans to use the report to lobby government ahead of Brexit discussions.