Mr. Michael Jabez Foster
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what are his plans for the King Edward VII Convalescent Home for Officers at Osborne House on the Isle of Wight. 
§ Mr. Alan Howarth
After very careful consideration, my right hon. Friend has decided that it is no longer appropriate to run part of Osborne House as a convalescent and residential home for the benefit of members of the Armed Forces and Civil Service. My right hon. Friend will be seeking, therefore, Parliament's approval to repeal the provisions of the Osborne Estate Act 1902 which places this responsibility on him. In the meantime, the home will remain open. The demand for residential and convalescent facilities has declined. The current costs to the taxpayer of running the home are around £500,000 each year, net of income. English Heritage meets additional costs for the care of the fabric of the building.
Our immediate concern is the care of the current residents of the home. I am grateful to the Civil Service Benevolent Fund, who run the home on our behalf, for offering to work closely with my Department in finding new homes for current residents when the need arises. The convalescent home will remain open to convalescents, but not new residents, and will be run by the Civil Service Benevolent Fund until such time as Parliament approves its closure. This would be carried out in an orderly way, respecting the wishes and needs of the residents as far as possible.
The State Apartments at Osborne House will continue to be open to the public and managed by English Heritage who are currently making extensive plans to commemorate the centenary of Queen Victoria's death at Osborne in January 1901. I have also asked English Heritage to bring forward imaginative proposals for the use of the accommodation currently occupied by the convalescent home which will provide employment and help towards the costs of running the Osborne Estate.