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Government support for archaeologists
Listen to the question at 12.40 and the answer.

I think that's a great big NO then.
Here's the exchange:

Lord Howarth of Newport (Labour)
My Lords, can the Minister offer any comfort to archaeologists, faced as they are with cuts to funding for museums, universities, English Heritage and local authority archaeological departments and, indeed, the collapse of archaeological businesses that are dependent for their funding on developers? Do the Government have any policies to support archaeology?

Baroness Rawlings (Whip, House of Lords; Conservative)The noble Lord, Lord Howarth, is very much involved with this subject and I understand his concern about the cuts, which will be across the board and which we all know about. Measures included in the Coroners and Justice Act to improve the treasure system will be implemented. Ministers are still considering the feasibility of a coroner for treasure. DCMS and the Ministry of Justice are working together to assess the extent to which measures on treasure may be implemented within current financial constraints.
Thanks for finding that...

what a non answer that side swerved the question without comment.
Have to say I thought the Minister was supportive of Archaeology what was said can be found at the Minister said

"The Department for Culture, Media and Sport plans to conduct a consultation that will,
"review the Treasure Act Code of Practice and ... the definition of Treasure contained in the Treasure Act 1996. This ... will provide the opportunity to consider whether it would be appropriate to extend the definition of treasure to include items such as the Roman parade helmet found",

Thus the government is considering a change in the law to stop this situation happening again. Surely this is a result?
She went on to say
“Baroness Rawlings: The Portable Antiquities Scheme is very important and I thank the noble Lord for that question. I appreciate that there is concern over the future of the scheme in the light of the announcement that the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council, which currently provides most of the scheme's funding, will be wound up by April 2012. I am pleased to confirm that the scheme will continue. Discussions are taking place about the best way for it to be managed and funded.”
She did duck the following question
Lord Howarth of Newport: My Lords, can the Minister offer any comfort to archaeologists, faced as they are with cuts to funding for museums, universities, English Heritage and local authority archaeological departments and, indeed, the collapse of archaeological businesses that are dependent for their funding on developers? Do the Government have any policies to support archaeology?”
So I would say not bad for archaeology in the circumstances. The government, well part if it anyway, does have policies on archaeology.
I would draw everybody’s attention to the fact that in 2002 the Liberal Democrats debated and passed a policy motion on archaeology which was reported on as follows:
The full text of the policy motion may be found on the Liberal Democrat website at September/F19 Archaeology. Key points are the calls for:

1) archaeological Sites and Monuments Records and their successors to be adequately funded as a statutory function;
2) a comprehensive and fully funded Portable Antiquities Scheme;
3) damage to Scheduled Monuments to be included in a criminal justice bill and for the laws relating to archaeological sites to be reviewed and strengthened.

We have policy 2 already and the Minister has just said that it is important and will continue. PPS 5 does not quite fulfil policy 1 but with a search being required for every heritage asset in effect this has been achieved. To achieve policy 1 fully a law change would be needed and this is something that the Act that was axed by Labour might have achieved.

Hello Peter,
glad to have you back and contributing.
However, I would have expected some kind of contribution from Baroness Andrews, chair of EH. Lord Howarth is trying to broaden the debate from being narrowly about the treasure act but doesn't really seem to get anywhere.
I think this was an opening skirmish. Lord Howarth of Newport was the Minister for the Arts from 1998-2001. He was also the local MP when the Newport Ship was found in 2002 so we can expect him to be on the ball when it comes to archaeology. What is important is that these things are being highlighted to government. We must also remember that EH will not be cutting the funding to designation and planning advice.

The coalition has a plan to reform the planning system to make it more democratic. We know this is coming and we know there will be a consultation and what we as a profession must do is debate the issues well in advance so that our views can be put to government in a coherent way. Archaeologists have many friends in Parliament and this debate is an example of that. Indeed my constituency MP John Howells has a PhD in archaeology and he came into politics following a campaign (which was successful) to stop gravel extraction around the Dorchester Henges. Archaeology was the key issue.

(Coalition Supporter!)
In Con-Lib speak 'more democratic' can only mean one thing - less constraints on development, and absolutely no hope of strong posative national initiatives (yes, 2 'one things')
There is an interesting debate on making the national parks more democratic and publicly accountable, and what this might mean for the environment. The problem is that local democratic decisions don;t necessarily act in the national interest.

However, yes, lets by all means present our issues to the government. EH might not be cutting designation, but it will be cutting grants and other non statutory support.
Yes there will be cuts in the grants but grants for Places of Worship will be protected.

and Yes local decisions dont necessarily act in the national interest. The question is where the balance should lie and things is particularly so with big infrastructure projects. The phrase NIMBY comes immediately to mind - there must be occassions when the national interest must take precedent over local democracy. Should a council have the power to build in the setting of a SAM or worse still on it a new school or demolish a grade 1 listed building to make way for a new hospital.

I hadn't heard that about places of worship. Perhaps you are better informed than me. I remember there was some fuss last year when EH rolled their dedicated 'cathedrals' grant into their main grant scheme. I would tend to be against ring fencing one type of site to protect above all others, it would be better if all had a fair crack of the whip and were judged to the same criteria. Thats what the criteria are for, after all...

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