Delighted to hear that English Heritage will be chipping in to support
heritage elsewhere in the UK. I'm sure Historic Scotland will be glad of the
----- Original Message -----
From: "Mike Heyworth" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Thursday, July 20, 2006 9:30 AM
Subject: [BRITARCH] "UK heritage under threat" - Select Committee report
Press release from Culture Media & Sport Committee
20 July 2006
UK HERITAGE UNDER THREAT
The UK's historic buildings are at risk unless the Government starts
providing English Heritage with the money and political support it needs.
In a report by the Culture Media and Sport Committee, MPs conclude that 'we
find the logic underlying DCMS's explanation of why funding to English
Heritage has decreased in real terms in recent years unconvincing, and it
inevitably leads observers to conclude that its claim to attach priority to
heritage issues is cosmetic and not borne out by the facts'.
MPs call on the Government to "take action to ensure that English Heritage
can fulfil its functions properly" and warns that English Heritage should
not be expected to fund its portion of the costs of setting up the
Government's new heritage protection regime unless it receives more funding.
MPs question the extent to which the DCMS champions heritage in joined-up
working across Government. The Committee urges the Secretary of State to
convince the Treasury to supply the financial support which the historic
They are particularly disappointed that the DCMS has failed to ensure tax
breaks for repair work on listed buildings.
'The present VAT regime for repairs distorts priorities, rewards neglect and
works against conscientious maintenance of historic assets. The result can
be either a slide towards demolition or a call on public funds for grant
Tony Blair also comes under criticism for failing to include the UK's
heritage in his letter sent to Tessa Jowell outlining the challenges facing
'The omission of a reference to the importance of the historic environment
from the Prime Minister's recent 'priorities letter' to DCMS is a surprising
and worrying omission...We encourage the DCMS to restate the priority it
attaches to the role of the historic environment, and the Government should
remedy this omission in its response to this report'.
The Committee's comprehensive report follows a launch of a major campaign by
all the major English and Welsh heritage organisations ('History Matters -
pass it on') outlining the importance of history in our culture.
MPs agree with the campaign that the growing public appetite for knowledge
about the past should be maintained, and that continuing engagement with
historic sites is key to their preservation.
'Heritage assets, once lost, cannot be replaced; they are a very special
resource and we are only now beginning to realise their full benefits.'
They also call on the Government to ensure that local authorities receive
sufficient funding to ensure that they are able to discharge their new
responsibilities under the new heritage protection reforms.
Commenting, Committee Chairman, John Whittingdale, said: "Preserving our
heritage for future generations is of profound importance and a
responsibility which the Government should not take lightly. If our historic
buildings are to survive the test of time then they will need greater
financial and political support than they currently receive."
The report is available at
NOTES TO EDITORS
1. The title of the Committee report is 'Protecting and Preserving our
Heritage' HC 912-I
2. Embargoed hard copies of the report will be available from the House of
Commons Press Gallery and the reception of 7 Millbank, London SW1P 3JA from
1200 Hrs Wednesday 19th July 2006.
3. Media Bids/Request for interview with the Chairman should be directed to
Luke Robinson on 07917 488 549.
4. For detailed information the Culture Media & Sport Committee can be
contacted on 020 7219 6924.
Members of the Committee are: Mr John Whittingdale OBE (Chairman)
(Conservative), Janet Anderson (Labour), Philip Davies (Conservative),
Rosemary McKenna (Labour), Mr Nigel Evans (Conservative), Adam Price (Plaid
Cymru), Paul Farrelly (Labour), Mr Adrian Sanders (Liberal Democrat), Mr
Mike Hall (Labour), Helen Southworth (Labour), Alan Keen (Labour).
Luke Robinson, Select Committee Media Officer, House of Commons
(For: Culture Media & Sport, Education & Skills, Health, Public Accounts,
Trade & Industry, Treasury, Work & Pensions, Scrutiny Unit)
T: +44 (0)20 7219 5693, M: +44 (0)7917488549
E: [log in to unmask]