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Funding, subsidies and all that!
Having been mildly ticked off by Mr Hosty for digressing on the other thread, I put the following proposition.

Unitof1 appears to have a problem with subsidies paid to farmers. It must be pleasant to be in a situation where one is a self funded archaeologist (his/her profile says self employed archaeologist). After all, although farmers get funding through subisdy, effectively archaeology is also massively subsidised - not via direct funding like the SPS but as a result of governments passing legislation and publishing policy advice which effectively forces developers to pay for archaeological work and therefore 'subsidises' our profession. If all archaeological work was funded by voluntary contribution then we would be doing a damned site less as a profession and there would be a lot fewer of us working - with the obvious exception of Unitof1 who is able to employ him/her self.

I will now don my metaphorical kevlar battle bowler and head for my similarly metaphorical slit trench with 18 inches of overhead cover Incominggggg!!!
Quote:quote:Originally posted by m300572
...effectively archaeology is also massively subsidised - not via direct funding like the SPS but as a result of governments passing legislation and publishing policy advice which effectively forces developers to pay for archaeological work and therefore 'subsidises' our profession.

Your definition of subsidy seems to include anyone who owes their livelihood to government legislation. Many professions, for example lawyers, engineers and health and safety advisors, fit that definition. Surely you'd agree that their working conditions are different to the farmers Unitof1 is so peeved about.

Incidentally, when considering the global food trade etc. I strongly believe that Unitof1 has a bloody good point. Could people on this thread please be clear about whether they are objecting to:
1) European tomatoes being sold in Africa for less than the cost of growing them locally
2) handouts to repair private property just because it's old
3) both of the above

Otherwise things'll just get all messy again.

'In the busy market there are fortunes to be won and lost, but in the cherry orchard there is peace'.
Chinese proverb
so gently it was but a stroke from the back of my hand... and some people pay for that sort of thing Wink

A seriously interesting concept of who subsidisies archaeology...

Are 'we' a business... earning profits, making cash.. expanding.. etc... or are we a service... rpoviding opportunities and information for the greater good, and therefore should be supported from a general fund/tax (or through developer funding).

Handouts to repair private property just because it's old!! - however... why not is some cases... if you are willing to put in a serious percentage as well.. you should be helped/encouraged to restore, consolidate etc.... I recently replaced the entire roof of my 180 year old school... at quite a large cost... (Sad) but I used traditional techniques and the best material - lead code 9 flashing, reclaimed scotish slates, etc etc.. copper nails... becasue I wanted that roof to last another 200 years... rather than just doing it as cheaply as possible... I needed help ... otherwise I would have had to do it cheaply... and the roof would need replaced in 50 years.. ............ So I say... help people who are willing to put in the effort to preserve decent structures

"No job worth doing was ever done on time or under budget.."
reclaimed scotish slates- now theres a subject

Fair point Tom. It was one of these middle of the night thoughts, having got up to let the dog out! The difference I would say between archaeology and the professions that you mention is that, in general, people somewhere WANT to pay for their services at some point - to make sure their building stays up, to get their own back on the man who moved the fence two inches, etc. The vast amajority of commercial archaeology is effectively forced on developers, most of who would bulldoze it quite happily if they didn't have to comply with PPG 16 - it would be equally valid to give all archaeologists a subsidy and let them get on with the job, in the same way that farmers can apply for subsidies to make up for the shortfalls in their income caused by the way the market is operated in Britain.

I too object to food being dumped on third world countries - but paying dairy farmers less than the cost of production for their milk won't stop that. What might stop it is removing all production subsidies and paying farmers for benefits to the environment as is happening with the Environmental Stewardship scheme - however flawed it may be in its early years.

People don't get handouts to repair buildings 'just because they are old'. Each application is assessed on the historic interest of the building, the wider public benefit and the impact on other elements of the environment such as landscape and ecology. People visit areas of landscape as tourists for a variety of reasons - viewing swathes of derelict countryside and abandoned buildings doesn't come too high up the reasons for visiting. It is the case that there needs to be change in the landscape and perhaps we would be better to demolish or let fall down the redundant buildings - but the Yorkshire Dales, for example, would look very different if the lost the field barns and miles of drystone wall that make up an essential part of their character.

Only a tiny proportion of buildings repairs would be carried out without grant aid, and most of them would be carried out using modern materials.
Exactly Peter.. with the loss of stone walling or hedging to be replaced by easier to maintain cheaper to build… but at the loss of the character of the landscape. One could argue that this is what happens, the landscape is the product of millennia of people changing, tearing down , rebuilding etc.

(Unit may be glad to know that the reclaimed slates came from salvaging the best slates from my roof (trimmed down and reshaped) and from a nearby building which had been demolished to make way for a new shed… (now you could argue also that this building could have been retained.. )

The re-opening of the Ballachulish quarry is a real possibility… I have not heard of any verifiable examples of buildings being deliberately quarried for slate.. thus kind of nullifying the idea behind it…..

I should point out that my house is List B.. and although I could have applied for a grant, I preferred to carry out the renovation with no strings attached.. at my own expense. And yes I recorded everything… (some of it can even be seen in the document about Building Recording Standards)

Without grants.. traditional and vernacular can give way to the cheapest and easiest…

Use Lime Mortar I say… but cement is cheaper… use suitable materials… try to be sympathetic..

"No job worth doing was ever done on time or under budget.."
Copper and lead- might need to bring the bushmen in on this
'The vast amajority of commercial archaeology is effectively forced on would be equally valid to give all archaeologists a subsidy...'

Aha, do I spy the old Development Tax debate rising up again, or are you in favour of archaeology simply being paid for out of the general Treasury coffers?
Good point about developers not really wanting us around, although I would reply that there are others who fit that mould (ecology, health & safety) but who are required by *statutory* legislation, so we see less grumbling and more just getting on with it.

BAJR (and others):
'...just because it's old!! ...'
Not my personal view, just my presentation of the debate.

m300572 has clarified that he's refering to a third form: proposed subsidies for archaeological work (as opposed to real subsidies to farmers). (is that a fair representation m300572?)

'In the busy market there are fortunes to be won and lost, but in the cherry orchard there is peace'.
Chinese proverb
I'm partly playing devil's advocate Tom but there is some validity (I think) in seeing the current funding in a similar vein to curent farm funding via subsidies. Actually a further thought would be that general treausry funding could go to archaeologists to fund educational and outreach work to get the results of their projects to a wider public audience.

Second hand slates - Natural England now, generally, specify new British sourced slates for conservation projects to reduce the chance of buildings being demolished to supply the reclamation market (some of which may be supplied by illegally obtained materials - I know of one barn that we funded which lost two sets of new tiles before we gave up and put corrugated iron on it!
Developer-funding for archaeology is very explicitly not a subsidy. It is something they need to pay for in order to be able to develop legally - just like complying with Building Regulations or preventing their construction site from polluting local watercourses.

No-one forces archaeological works on a developer; they always have the option of not developing that site. If they want to do something that would destroy archaeological remains, then it is their responsibility to ensure that they do the necessary mitigation work.

A subsidy would come into play if the Government were to pay for work that only needs doing because of the actions of a third party (this used to be the case before PPG16). In those circumstances, the developer would effectively be in receipt of a subsidy to mitigate damage that he/she has decided to cause.

It is all based on the old 'polluter pays' principle.


to let, fully furnished

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