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Somerset House

Volume 592: debated on Thursday 30 July 1998

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asked Her Majesty's Government:When, and on what terms, the recent lease for Somerset House was agreed between the Inland Revenue and the government agency concerned. [HL3048]

The Government assigned the whole of Somerset House to Somerset House Limited on a 128 year lease on 25 November 1997. Somerset House Limited has been established under the chairmanship of the right honourable Sir Timothy Sainsbury with the objective of restoring it fully, increasing public access and turning part of the building into an improved centre for art and culture.Under the terms of the lease, Somerset House Limited will pay no rent to the Government for five years; after five years, it will pay 25 per cent. of the income receivable from its tenants; and after 10 years, 50 per cent. Also on 25 November 1997, Somerset House Limited leased the East, West and New wings of Somerset House to the Inland Revenue for 25 years at an annual rent of £2.1 million. The Courtauld Institute will continue to occupy the North Wing as a tenant of Somerset House Limited. A further lease was signed on 25 November 1997 under which the Lord Chancellor's Department would continue to occupy the South Wing until 1 June 1998. That department has now vacated South Wing, part of which is being renovated and adapted to house the Gilbert Collection.