§ Mr. Morley
[holding answer 27 March 2003]: The cost to Defra of sponsoring the Covent Garden Market Authority in 2001–02 was £65,000. The Authority's balance sheet at 31 March 2002 shows assets totalling £13,522,529.
The Covent Garden Market Authority is a public corporation established by Act of Parliament in 1961 to acquire the horticultural wholesale market then located at Covent Garden and to improve the facilities there. In 1966 a further Act made provision for the transfer of the market to its present site. Since 1990, it has been Government policy to disengage from the market. Its future is now being considered in the light of the report of the Review of London Markets commissioned by the Department and the Corporation of London last year.