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Ecclesistical & Heritage World No.99

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Heritage bodies set out election Manifesto

3uSjs9CAhead of the next UK general election, the Heritage Alliance – a coalition of 200 heritage organisations in England – has published its 2023 Heritage Manifesto, demonstrating how heritage provides solutions to a range of public policy challenges and setting out a vision for the sector under the next term of government.

The Heritage Manifesto has been created to draw attention to the key policy measures needed to ensure the future of our shared heritage. It urges all major political parties to adopt a five-point plan to not only protect our heritage, but also to maximise the benefits it can create for communities and the environment.

The Heritage Manifesto represents the views of the Heritage Alliance’s 200-strong membership, covering the breadth of the sector; from science to creativity; from museums, railways and gardens to shipwrecks, canals and theatres; from archaeological sites to places of worship and more.

The manifesto sets out five key priorities for all decision makers:

  • Support community cohesion and put heritage at the heart of regeneration by investing in and empowering councils and communities to protect and make the most of heritage locally. That should include support for targeted regeneration schemes, removing permitted development on demolition, incentivising reuse of historic buildings and embedding culture-led regeneration and community ownership in future housing and community strategies.
  • Embed the historic environment in nature recovery and net-zero strategies by ensuring Environmental Land Management schemes provide robust long-term funding to land managers of at least £4.4bn a year – which includes delivering heritage outcomes on an equal footing – reforming Energy Performance Certificates and bringing forward skills training, funding, standards and advice in a National Retrofit Strategy.
  • Reform the tax regime to promote long-term sustainable growth by equalising VAT on repair and maintenance with new-build, simplifying and reducing the burden of business rates and continuing support for the Listed Places of Worship Grant Scheme.
  • Harness cultural learning and skills at every age and help our workforce thrive by encouraging youth visits to heritage sites in the curriculum through subsidised entry, implementing cross-subsidised shared apprenticeship schemes, reforming the Apprenticeship Levy and offering unsponsored and conservation skill-orientated visas for heritage.
  • Futureproof heritage institutions at both a national and a local level by ensuring the adequate funding and continued stability of arms-length heritage bodies, protecting the 20% share of Lottery funding for the National Lottery Heritage Fund, supporting statutory Historic Environment Records with ringfenced investment in local authorities for heritage expertise and supporting proposals for a National Centre for Archaeological Archives.

Launching the Heritage Manifesto, Lizzie Glithero-West, chief executive of the Heritage Alliance, said: “Heritage is our greatest national asset and plays an important role in solving many of the challenges we face as a nation, from climate change to wellbeing. It is the backdrop to our lives and a provider of prosperity.

“Our manifesto sets out a number of practical areas in which any future administration can make a tangible difference and ensure we use and don’t lose our heritage. Support for heritage is an investment, not a bail-out. We strongly urge all parties to adopt these measures in their manifestos.”

Dr Ingrid Samuel OBE, chair of the Heritage Alliance and heritage director of the National Trust, added: “This manifesto is the product of collaborative working and combined thinking between heritage organisations across the breadth of our sector. It presents a coherent and comprehensive overview of what matters most in supporting our heritage to thrive, benefitting both people and places. We urge all political parties to take note.”

About The Heritage Alliance

Established in 2002, the Heritage Alliance is a membership body, which represents the independent heritage movement in England. As such, it has a unique role, promoting the sector in all its diversity.

Victorian School experience at Old Clifton School Birmingham c2 Chris Lacey scaledWho We Represent

Our membership ranges from large bodies such as the National Trust to specialist charities and community organisations, across the breadth of sector, from museums to science and construction.

Our membership preserves, delivers and represents:

  • built heritage
  • community heritage and public engagement
  • culture and memories
  • industrial, maritime and transport heritage
  • landscape, parks and nature
  • archaeology
  • conservation
  • academia, learning & traditional skills
  • places of worship
  • sector support

Our combined membership represents the interests of over 7 million volunteers, trustees, members and staff.

ET4I8204 scaledWhat We Do

We influence legislation and policy

We advocate for the interests of the independent heritage sector by putting our members’ key messages to opinion formers and decision-makers.

This includes advocating on broader issues such as the importance of heritage to national prosperity, wellbeing, and stimulating new thinking and dialogue on heritage issues.

We bring the sector together

We connect our members with key government stakeholders through our advocacy groups and by writing briefings, summaries and consultation responses.

We help our members grow

We support the sustainability and resilience of the sector through initiatives that strengthen independent heritage organisations.

We facilitate collaborative working and information-sharing to deepen understanding and commitment. This includes fostering capacity-building projects and hosting events such as our Heritage Debate and our Heritage Day.

Purton Green Jill Tate 03Our Vision

Our vision is for a society in which England’s historic environment and cultural heritage are valued and supported so that they can continue to enrich our lives.

We strive to achieve this through the sympathetic, sustainable and imaginative stewardship of the past around us.

We work closely with our members to ensure that the vibrant independent heritage sector is fit for the future.

The Heritage Alliance has committed to providing equal opportunities and ending racism in the Heritage Sector. You can read our Equal Opportunities Statement and our Joint Anti-Racism Statement.

LincolnshireHORNCASTLEStMaryexplorechurches.org107Our Mission

Our mission is to harness the skills, strengths and talents of our members and partners to achieve our shared objectives.

We champion the independent heritage sector to policymakers and opinion formers, convening a wide range of stakeholders to:

  • build a shared, deep and nuanced understanding of the importance and value of all kinds of heritage
  • enable networking and shared learning amongst practitioners across the sector to support skills and career development

We inspire, catalyse and support action to enhance the sustainability, resilience and capabilities of independent heritage organisations to achieve their full potential.

For further information visit www.theheritagealliance.org.uk