HC Deb 21 February 1985 vol 73 cc534-5W
Mr. Hargreaves

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what further help he intends to give the National Heritage Memorial Fund to continue the work of preserving the national heritage.

Mr. Macfarlane

The Government recognise as an important part of the national heritage the Adam masterpiece of Kedleston Hall, Derbyshire, the contents and grounds of Weston Park, Shropshire, and the furniture made by Thomas Chippendale for Nostell Priory in Yorkshire. My right hon. and noble Friend the Minister for the Arts and I accept that the complex negotiations needed to secure the future of these properties will make heavy calls on the National Heritage Memorial Fund on top of the other varied demands facing the fund. The Government are therefore to provide the fund with additional resources. This will mean that, if no other source of funds is available, the fund will be in a position to negotiate solutions which preserve these three estates at reasonable cost to the taxpayer.

The purpose of these negotiations will be to bring about arrangements to transfer the properties by private treaty to institutions concerned with their preservation and public enjoyment. The transfer values will take into account the owners' liability to capital taxes. If these negotiations succeed, the general public will benefit by securing access to three important collections at considerable less cost than would have been possible on the open market.

Subject to parliamentary approval of the necessary Supplementary Estimate, the provision for grant-in-aid to the National Heritage Memorial Fund will be increased to £29 million for 1984–85. £3 million of this will be funded from savings elsewhere. Within Class VIII, Vote 4 there will be an increase in the cash limit of £22 million. £7 million of this will be secured through economies in the Department's running costs on Class VIII, Vote 5, and £15 million from a reduction on the New Town Non-voted cash limit DOE/NT 1. There will therefore be no overall increase in public expenditure. The effect of these changes on the relevant cash limit are as set out in the following table:

Existing Cash Limit Increase/Decrease Revised Cash Limit
Class VIII Vote 4 92,963 +22,000 114,963
Class VIII Vote 5 171,995 -7,000 164,995
Non-voted cash limit DOE/NT 1 46,700 +15,000 31,700