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English Heritage to become charity by 2015

English Heritage has been given £80m in the government's Spending Review as part of plans for the organisation to become a charity. Some of the £80m awarded by the government will help to set up the charity so it will be fully operational by March 2015.
Chance Posted by Chance
28th June 2013ce

Comments (4)

That essentially means privatised, does it. So the government remove all funding* and all responsibility, and if it all goes wrong, then it's not their responsibility any more. Only what we've come to expect from this delightful lot.

*they are removing all funding. Despite this marvellous 80 million. Talk about spin.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
28th June 2013ce
Well RESCUE has put out a press release in opposition. Thanks to Chris Cumberpatch on F/B, it is a long statement and will be little heeded by those in power intent in doling out tax payer's money to their cronies as they shift the goal posts again and again!!!

"RESCUE – The British Archaeological Trust1 is once again disappointed to note that despite being a significant net contributor to the economy2, the heritage sector has been treated with contempt by the Chancellor in his latest spending review. It is clear that when formulating spending plans, the Government has failed to recognise the earning-power of the heritage economy and as a result is continuing to behave as if the historic environment and the industry that sustains and promotes it is a drain on resources rather than an asset to growth. The result of this myopic position is that heritage assets, including our national, regional and local museums together with their collections and highly skilled staff, are being placed in very real jeopardy.
It must also be recognised that although the cut to the museums budget administered through the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, has been set at ‘only’ 5% this comes on top of a programme of deep cuts that have seen sackings, a reduction in services and the closure of museums across the country. Furthermore, many heritage-related services including local and regional museums and Historic Environment Records are funded through local authorities, whose budget cut has been considerably more draconian at 10%. The net effect of these cuts will be a further whittling away of already inadequate budgets, the loss of staff, services and buildings and, eventually, of unique and irreplaceable collections. The impact of this ‘death by a thousand cuts’ approach will be to reduce the attractiveness of the UK as a visitor destination with a knock-on effect on businesses and communities in areas where tourism is a vital source of income and economic activity. RESCUE deplores any cuts to this important sector of the economy and will continue to advocate investment in the historic environment in all its aspects in order that the country will continue to enjoy the many economic and social benefits of a vibrant heritage sector.
RESCUE is concerned at the proposal which will see English Heritage split into two parts and in particular the proposal that will see historic properties handed over to a charitable trust which will, in time, be solely supported by voluntary donations and earned income. RESCUE believes that the state has an important role to play in the preservation and enhancement of our national heritage and that the removal of state funding is further evidence of the Government’s hostility towards a sector that it should be supporting and which requires investment rather than a reduction in support. RESCUE is also concerned that the rump of English Heritage which will remain within the funding remit of the DCMS (and will encompass many of the organisation’s most important roles in the areas of research, investigation and the support of curatorial services) will lack long-term viability and will become a target for future cuts, further eroding the base of expertise and knowledge that is an essential part of any national heritage service.
27th June 2013

1) RESCUE – The British Archaeological Trust is an entirely independent organisation which exists to argue for the importance of archaeology, archaeologists and the historic environment. Details of the Trust and its activities can be found at

2) The contribution made by heritage to the national economy forms part of the annual Heritage Counts surveys ( . The report for 2010 focussed specifically on the economic impact of the historic environment and found that: £1 of public sector investment created £1.6 of additional economic activity over a ten year period, on a par with other public sector investment such as in the public realm. It also found evidence of social benefits, with 90% of respondents in the case study areas agreeing that the project had raised their pride in the local area and 93% that it had increased their sense of place. In some case study areas, visitors also stated that they felt safer in the local area (for example in Sheffield the percentage that felt safe rose from 73% before the project to 98% after).
moss Posted by moss
28th June 2013ce
tjj Posted by tjj
29th June 2013ce
Here's EH's own message to members from the Chief Executive:

"I am writing to you with some important news.

You may have seen in the media the proposal that the part of English Heritage which runs the National Heritage Collection to which, as a member, you enjoy access is to be established as a charity. We are delighted with this news as it is a proposal that we have been shaping for some time and now with the support of the government this aspiration will become a reality.

Our current legal status allows us to receive charitable support although we remain a non-departmental public body receiving an annual grant from the government via the Department for Culture Media and Sport. This government grant funds our statutory role as the government’s advisor on the historic built environment, our role in the planning process and our grant
giving and subsidises the costs of conserving and maintaining the over 400 historic properties in our care. In recent years however our grant has reduced and we have come to rely increasingly on what we are able to generate from opening the historic properties.

Due to the support of people like you, commercial income has grown from £29m to £53m and our membership has doubled to over a million. We have also been able through our fundraising activities to invest in improving our properties in terms of new exhibitions and better visitor services. We have however a very significant backlog of conservation work which it has not
been possible to address through earned income. The government has now agreed to provide £80m to address this backlog which means that free of such a huge liability we will be able to fund the operation of the properties from the money we earn.

Maximising this income will be easier if we operate as a charity, free of the constraints we operate under as part of government and with many more opportunities for philanthropic and volunteer support. Our work will of course continue to be informed by our values of quality, authenticity, imagination, responsibility and enjoyment. Historic integrity will continue
to be the bedrock of all that we do. Ownership of the properties will not change-they will remain in the care of the nation, managed under a license by the new charity which will be called English Heritage.That part of the organisation which looks after our wide role in the historic environment will continue as part of government under a new name."
thesweetcheat Posted by thesweetcheat
30th June 2013ce
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