Policy round-up: January 2018

  • 31 Jan 2018

The new year kicked off with a reshuffle that saw both the incumbent Culture Secretary and the Heritage and Tourism Minister moved to new departments. The former Culture Secretary, Karen Bradley, took up the role of Northern Ireland Secretary, and the former Heritage and Tourism Minister, John Glen, became Economic Secretary at the Treasury. We wrote to both to thank them for their support during their time at DCMS, which culminated with the publication of a Heritage Statement just before Christmas

Time will tell how the Heritage Statement will be taken forward by the new Culture Secretary, Matt Hancock, and the new Heritage and Tourism Minister, Michael Ellis. We have welcomed both to their new roles, and look forward to discussing how we can work together to review tax incentives for conservation and improve heritage regulation. Meanwhile, we've continued to meet with cross party MPs throughout January, to raise awareness of these issues and the vital economic and social contribution of independent historic houses across the country. 

A major priority for us over the next few months will be developing a new piece of economic research that will strengthen our case for why improving Heritage Maintenance Funds would deliver public benefit. We'll be getting in touch with members about this work over the next few weeks. Huge thanks in advance for contributing your experiences and case studies; your examples are essential in helping us develop the most robust business case for change. 

In other projects, our consultation work continues apace. This month we've been busy responding to the new iteration of Historic England's Conservation Principles, an important document that will act as a touchstone for HE advice notes and guidance in the coming years. We are also looking at the potential impact of a draft planning bill in Scotland and a review of planning law in Wales, and working on a submission to the DCMS Select Committee's Inquiry into the social impact of participation in culture and sport. 

As winter starts to look towards spring, planning for English Tourism Week 2018 (17-25 March) has picked up pace. If you're opening or running an event at your house or garden during this week, and would be interested in taking part in English Tourism Week, you can find more information and a business toolkit on the VisitBritain website

Finally, at the end of January we were thrilled to be able to announce that we and the University of Oxford have secured funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) for a joint PhD, looking at the politics of the independent country house post 1950.

There have been numerous studies of the evolution of heritage as a concern for public policy, but to date there has not been a comprehensive academic examination of the politics of the independent historic house sector in recent times. This is a really exciting joint venture, and we look forward to working with the successful candidate later in the year. 

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