Heritage Minister John Glen Launches his ‘Agenda for Heritage’
Our heritage is a precious part of our country. Minister John Glen’s Heritage Statement (announced 05.12.17) sets out issues we need to address and measures we need to take to ensure that current and future generations can enjoy and benefit from it.
Our PR Manager, Lucy Thomas has read his statement and has pulled out all of the most important bits (so you don’t have to!)…
The Heritage Statement sets out direction and priorities for heritage in the coming years. It links agenda for heritage to wider agendas and strategies: for industry, for regeneration and placemaking, for skills, for the environment. And it focuses on areas where government can help to support the heritage sector and add value to the fantastic work to conserve, protect and promote our heritage.
Integral to every community
- It is there in the places where we live, work and visit. It provides employment for thousands of people, and learning, training and volunteering opportunities for thousands more.
- We must continue to make the case for heritage and demonstrate how investing in our heritage and historic environment benefits our economy, our communities, our wellbeing and our quality of life.
- Across the country there are some fantastic examples of heritage and historic buildings being restored and placed back at the heart of their local communities, attracting business and tourism.
- Sheer variety of our heritage. And I have been impressed by the dedication and enthusiasm of the many people – specialists, professionals and volunteers – who care for and promote our heritage.
Heritage Action Zones
Historic England’s Heritage Action Zones are demonstrating how our heritage can help to create economic growth and improve the quality of life in our villages, towns and cities.
City of Culture
- In Hull, which has had an amazing year as UK City of Culture 2017, the Heritage Action Zone will help to ensure that part of the legacy of 2017 is seen in the city’s physical environment.
- In 2021 another city will benefit from being UK City of Culture. I will announce on Thursday which city that will be.
New Heritage Action Zones
They will benefit from working in partnership with Historic England, receiving expertise, advice and grant funding, as well as working closely with other local partners, to unleash the power of their local historic environment. I hope that they will prove to be an excellent vehicle for investment by others as well as Historic England.
The eight new Heritage Action Zones are:
- Bishop Auckland
- Dewsbury Living Market Town
- Greater Grimsby
- North Lowestoft Heritage Quarte
- Rochdale Town Centre
- Stockton and Darlington Railway
- Walworth in Southwark.
Historic England new community scheme
A new scheme to enable local communities to identify, mark and celebrate the events, people and places that are important to them:
- The events that helped to shape their communities
- The people who left their mark on history
- And the places where history was made.
- This new scheme will include a competition to design a plaque or marker to share these stories.
It will encourage more people to find out about the heritage around them and the history of the places where they live and work. It will help to create local pride and an increased sense of belonging. And, by encouraging communities to make the most of the heritage and history on their doorsteps, it will offer more opportunities for increased tourism, employment and economic growth.
World Heritage Wall to Wall Collaboration
Linking our Hadrian’s Wall experts with their Great Wall of China counterparts. This collaboration is part of the UK – China People to People dialogue. It is a perfect example of the global significance of heritage and how it can be used to strengthen our international partnerships.
I intend to invite senior representatives from those Departments whose policies have an impact on heritage and the historic environment to join the Council, as well as representatives from the heritage sector. The Council will be a forum for discussing current issues, finding solutions, promoting best practice and supporting co-operation across the heritage sector and between the public, private and voluntary sectors.
A major part of the Chancellor’s recent Budget focused on housing and the need to provide more homes across the country. You may also have heard about proposals to review the planning regime. Let me assure you that I will be in close contact with the Department for Communities and Local Government to ensure that the opportunities which our heritage provides for placemaking, as well as the need to protect the historic environment, are factored in at all stages, as these initiatives proceed. The new Heritage Council will play a key role in helping me to do this.
Old buildings, new uses
I have been hugely impressed by the innovative and imaginative ways in which old buildings are being put to new uses, combined with creative ways to fund them and make them sustainable. But I know that rescuing and breathing new life into historic places is not easy. We need to work together to identify the issues and barriers and to find solutions, so that our historic environment can continue to contribute to our economy and society.
Cost, Taxation & Funding
I know that many of you have concerns about the amount of VAT charged on the repair and maintenance of historic buildings, and about other aspects of the tax system as it applies to heritage and the historic environment. I want to assure you that I hear and understand those concerns. Whilst tax and fiscal changes are challenging at the best of times, I will continue to work with the Treasury to keep under review the scope for possible changes. And I would ask that you work together across the sector to identify the changes which are most important to you and to build the strongest possible evidence base to help make the case for those changes. That evidence base will also help to support and justify further investment and policy measures for our heritage. It will provide a firm basis for funding and investment, not only by government but by private funders and investors.
Has generated billions of pounds in funding for heritage – over £7.7 billion since 1994. But I am sure you are all aware of the financial challenge to be faced due to falling lottery receipts. I am confident that the heritage sector can rise to this challenge and find new, innovative sources of funding.
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