§ Mrs. Ewing
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what considerations he takes into account when authorising the payment of grants of public money to owners of landed estates of more than 500 acres to improve private buildings on those estates; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Sproat
[holding answer 23 July 1996]: I have been asked to reply.
In England, Government funding channelled through English Heritage is available for structural repairs to those buildings that English Heritage consider to be of outstanding historic or architectural interest. In deciding whether a grant should be made English Heritage takes account of factors such as the nature, cost and urgency of the proposed works, and also other resources available to the property owner. The general principle behind Government policy is that owners should be responsible for the repair of their own properties, and public funding should be provided only where it is clearly needed to preserve the fabric of our heritage. In accordance with this principle, procedures have been drawn up to assess the resources available to historic estates.