asked the Secretary of State for the Environment, in the light of the announcement of auction sales of the contents of Mentmore, if he will make a further statement on negotiations to acquire it for the nation.
I can add little to my undertaking to consider any renewed offer from Lord Rosebery if sufficient funds were to be offered from private sources towards the cost of acquiring and running the property. Lord Rosebery revised his offer, which is open until April, but this is less attractive than his original offer. The capital cost to the Government would be about £3 million. In the light of constraints on public expenditure I could consider this only if a prompt and substantial contribution towards the cost of acquisition of at least £2 million was made available from private sources, together with a sufficient endowment to cover running costs.