HC Deb 24 June 1954 vol 529 cc567-8
6. Sir T. Moore

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps he is taking, or contemplating, to ensure that Chatsworth and its contents are preserved for the British nation.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

I would refer my hon. Friend to the answer my right hon. Friend gave to the hon. Member for Nottingham, South (Mr. Norman Smith) on 22nd June.

Sir T. Moore

Whilst noting the sympathetic reply which the Chancellor gave on that occasion, will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that Chatsworth and its contents are in danger only because of the penal death duties imposed by this and previous Governments, and will he not accept the fact that there is a moral responsibility on the Government to try to retain this unique collection and heritage for the people of Britain?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

My right hon. Friend made our general attitude clear and, while negotiations are continuing, it would be unwise for me to comment further.

Mr. Noel-Baker

Is the Financial Secretary aware that there is a very strong feeling in the country, and particularly in Derbyshire, that Chatsworth should be preserved, and that there is a general hope that an arrangement will be made which will both preserve it and safeguard the national interest?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

It is because we accept the views put forward by the right hon. Gentleman that we have entered into these discussions.

Mr. E. Wakefield

Chatsworth being in my constituency, may I ask my right hon. Friend if he is aware of the strong feeling in that locality that it would have been far preferable if Chatsworth had been retained as a home rather than as a museum?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

That raises quite different questions.

Mr. Gibson

In considering what was said by the hon. Member for Ayr (Sir T. Moore), will the Financial Secretary bear in mind what the same hon. Gentleman had to say about the necessity for giving proper consideration to the expenditure of public money on old-age pensioners?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

I always follow with close attention what my hon. Friend says.

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