HC Deb 20 December 1960 vol 632 cc1043-4
10. Mr. K. Robinson

asked the Minister of Works if he will take steps to acquire the freehold of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

Lord John Hope

I understand that the Opera House is not in the market for sale at present and the question does not therefore arise.

Mr. Robinson

Would not the noble Lord agree that the present leasehold arrangements are wholly unsatisfactory from the point of view of the Covent Garden trustees and most uneconomic from the point of view of his Department and the Treasury? Is he aware that a year ago the previous Chancellor said that he would consider this matter seriously? Will the right hon. Gentleman have a talk with his right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer to see whether he can do a bit better this year? After all, there must be methods of acquiring this freehold whether it is in the market or not?

Lord John Hope

There may be possible methods of acquiring it, but whether they would be right or desirable methods to adopt is another matter. I will certainly look into the point made by the hon. Member vis-à-vis the Chancellor.