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With proposed amendments thanks to co-operation between BAMF and the Bill’s proposer, Richard Allan MP, the new Act is expected to make the looting of artefacts much less attractive to criminals internationally, but the concern, expressed by Lord Brooke, is that yet again the trade is being made responsible for ensuring the law works without being given the tools to do the job – and that in spite of a Government promise to do so.

Lord Brooke told the house: “…other recommendations of the Illicit Trade Advisory Panel have made less progress, to the frustration of the art market; in particular, the recommendation for databases of stolen art and antiques and of the cultural laws of other countries. Those will be urgently required if the present Bill is to be affected. It is unreasonable to place obligations on the legitimate art market without providing the information that it needs if it is to avoid inadvertently handling tainted objects. It is noticeable that the House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee has also called for such a database and it is regrettable that no progress so far appears to have been made towards achieving that objective… it would be sad if efforts to get the Bill on to the statute book so expeditiously were not followed up by further measures to make it wholly effective.”