HC Deb 20 March 1962 vol 656 cc188-9
11. Mr. More

asked the Minister of Works what is the total amount of money advanced as grants under the Historic Buildings Act, 1953, to date; and how much of this has been spent on industrial monuments.

Mr. R. Thompson

Up to the end of February, 1962, repair grants totalling just over £3,700,000, have been offered under this Act. This figure includes £4,700 for grants towards the repair of four windmills. Grants for industrial buildings which are no longer usable are not made under this Act.

Mr. More

Would my hon. Friend agree that the preservation of our industrial monuments need not call for the expenditure of large sums of public money? Also, would he agree that it is urgent to prevent the destruction of these monuments which are of two classes—first, buildings and structures, and secondly, machinery and plant?

Mr. Thompson

Yes, Sir. However, as my hon. Friend probably knows, the Minister is still awaiting the completion of a pilot survey of industrial monuments in Staffordshire, undertaken by the county council in collaboration with the Council for British Archaeology. Until he has that information it is difficult to formulate a policy.

Mr. H. Hynd

Is it not time that the Government had another look at this Act and re-examined the principle of giving huge subsidies to wealthy property owners?

Mr. Thompson

No, I do not accept that at all. When my right hon. Friend makes a grant it is on the advice of the appropriate Historic Buildings Council. The work which those councils have done has won universal praise.