Policy round-up: November 2017
This month saw us focused on the biggest event in the HHA calendar, as hundreds of HHA Members, Friends and stakeholders gathered at the Queen Elizabeth II conference centre in Westminster for the HHA’s national AGM.
Our speakers – Loyd Grossman, Julie Kenny and Jonathan Ruffer – gave insightful and inspiring speeches, with Loyd tackling major geopolitical and cultural trends, and Julie and Jonathan discussing the challenges involved in restoring Wentworth Woodhouse and Auckland Castle. Our President, James Birch, presented the HHA’s plans for the coming year – giving the audience a sneak preview of our new brand image, which will be launched in March 2018.
A key driver of the rebrand is the need for the HHA to have a more impactful public-facing identity, in order to support the work we’re doing to raise our profile amongst politicians and policymakers. As the new brand settles in next year, and we continue to implement our new political strategy, we hope the higher profile we’re developing will reap dividends in the future.
The other focus of this month was, of course, the Autumn Budget. Set against a backdrop of gloomy growth forecasts, the Chancellor faced a tough landscape when he stood up at the despatch box on 22 November. In the event the Budget was mostly silent on heritage matters, as we expected. The Budget did, however, contain a range of announcements that will be of interest to many Members – in taxation, planning and general business. Members can read our full round-up of the key Budget announcements on the Members’ website here. For more in-depth analysis of the taxation elements of the Budget, HHA Members can also download a detailed briefing from the HHA’s tax advisers at Saffery Champness here.
Our political contact programme continued this month; Ben and Emma had a really useful meeting with Kevin Hollinrake, MP for Thirsk and Malton and PPS to the Environment Secretary, and we were pleased to receive positive feedback from MPs as we issued the autumn/winter edition of our Parliamentary e-newsletter, which highlighted the economic contribution of HHA Member houses as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW 2017, 13-19 November).
Later that week (GEW 2017) we were pleased to be the first heritage organisation to host #HeritageChat – a new monthly Twitter conversation for the heritage sector, established by the foresight group Heritage2020. The HHA team took over the @HeritageChat Twitter account for an hour, posing various questions around entrepreneurship to sector colleagues. If you’re interested in reading some of the examples, the full chat can be read here via Storify.
As November moves into December we’re starting work on a number of important consultation responses, including changes to Historic England’s ‘Conservation Principles’ document, a government call for evidence on building a market for energy efficiency, and a DEFRA consultation on banning UK sales of ivory. You’ll be able to find our submissions to these consultations in the policy hub in December and January.
Finally, we were encouraged by the publication of the government's Industrial Strategy White Paper towards the end of the month, which lists tourism as one of just eight industries with which government is working on a Sector Deal. The HHA plays an active role on the regulation working group that's helped to shape the bid document for the Tourism Sector Deal, so we are pleased to see it taking shape. You can find out more about the latest work on the Sector Deal here.
Emma and Polly, the HHA policy team