“Don’t wreck our heritage through ignorance or neglect”
Leading coalition of heritage bodies launches Manifesto for 2015
The Heritage Alliance, the country’s largest alliance of heritage organisations, is calling on all political parties to commit to 12 amendments to national legislation and policy so that the benefits of heritage – social economic, educational and environmental – can be fully realised.
Loyd Grossman, Chairman of the Heritage Alliance, says ‘In the run-up to the General Election, we need to see heritage recognised as the national asset it so clearly is. A range of fiscal, social and energy policies affect our heritage as well as the more obvious planning regime. We want a policy framework that encourages individuals, businesses and local authorities to realise the power of our heritage, not wreck it through ignorance or neglect’
Launching The Power of Heritage (#THAmanifesto) today, The Heritage Alliance asserts that the survival of England’s heritage – from our rich architectural tradition to our distinctive landscapes – depends on private, independent and public sectors being able to work together, and for whichever party comes to power in 2015, to create the right legislative environment to protect this huge source of national pride and which is a powerful engine for economic growth.
The Heritage Alliance appeals for 12 changes that only a government can make that will motivate owners, managers, developers, charities and individuals to take better care of our heritage.
Top of the Alliance’s list is a change in VAT, a running sore for the heritage sector and beyond, which subsidises new construction over the repair, maintenance and adaptation of older buildings.
Reducing VAT from 20% to 5% for works to buildings in residential use would help keep over a third of England’s listed buildings in good condition for national benefit, and is within the power of the UK government, not the EU.
Most of all, the Alliance’s long-standing principle of reducing risk to the historic environment and maximising its public benefit is reflected in the calls relating to the new Historic England, one of the two bodies that will succeed the current English Heritage in April 2015.
The Alliance calls on all political parties to support the new Historic England and to review how well it is working in partnership with others. The Alliance singles out Historic England’s capacity building function, to enable others to take on more responsibility for our heritage, and in particular to develop its education and skills policies.