HC Deb 10 December 1957 vol 579 cc1051-2
12. Mr. H. Hynd

asked the Minister of Works what inquiries were made about the means of the owners before a grant of £4,500 was given towards the cost of repairs to Longleat House and a grant of £5,000 for a gatehouse at Scrivelsby Court.

Mr. Molson

The Historic Buildings Council for England satisfied itself that the owners needed a grant to enable the necessary work to be done.

Mr. Hynd

How is it determined whether these owners need a grant of this kind? I do not want to mention names—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."]—but I will do so if hon. Members want me to. These are obviously people who are not in need of financial aid. How can the Minister reconcile grants of this kind with the fact that he and his hon. Friends object, for example, to grants towards subsidising rented property?

Mr. Molson

That is an argument which might have been put forward when the Historic Buildings Act was being passed. It was passed with the support of hon. Members on both sides of the House, and the purpose of the Act is to enable grants to be made in respect of the buildings and not primarily for the benefit of the owners.