Discussion of a national management trust began in anticipation of local government reorganisation and the need to find some way of securing the future of the smallholdings if county councils were abolished in favour of smaller, unitary authorities.
Although that is much less likely to occur, Mr Prague said financial issues had been raised and it was for those reasons county councils might go ahead with a landholding trust to realise some of their assets.
Attention had been focused on the fact that very considerable amounts of public money and assets are tied up in these farms, to the benefit of relatively small number of people. Secondly, environment secretary John Gummer had introduced his private finance initiative to try to attract private capital into local government funding.
'There should be quite a vibrant system available to them then', said Mr Prague.