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Publicly funded museums that seek to sell off "the family silver" will face tougher sanctions from the body that overseas the UK's museums. The Museums Association (MA) is to tighten up its ethics code to avoid controversial sell-offs of valuable antiquities from cash-strapped museum collections.

It is also in talks with the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), the Art Fund, and Arts Council England to establish a "joined-up response" to those selling important objects for financial gain. They are also investigating whether to launch an official list of at-risk collections.

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