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Realising the Power of Heritage: Take Action

Realising the Power of Heritage: Take Action

The Heritage Alliance is asking you to help ensure the future survival of England’s heritage

At a time of significant cuts in public funding at both the local and national level, and when parts of the heritage sector are under extreme pressure, it is more important than ever that you help in developing a compelling and robust argument to champion the value of heritage.

If you are a member of a heritage charity, live in a historic town, belong to a local church or just cherish being surrounded by beautiful buildings and history then join our movement to ensure their protection. Your voice has power- Let your MP know that a living, thriving heritage is important to you, your community and the wellbeing and economy of the UK as a whole:
Download the draft MP letter [Word document] Need inspiration? Click here to see our heritage advocacy tool box

Click to view the template letter

Dear [Insert local candidate],

I am a constituent asking you to demonstrate your support for one of our most valuable economic and social assets – the heritage of [insert constituency] and the UK as a whole.

The contribution of heritage to our national and local life is huge but its long term survival is in danger of being taken for granted. Heritage based tourism is now worth £26.4 billion to the UK economy annually and employs 742,000 people, meaning its positive impact on community cohesion and overall contribution to our national life will be sorely missed if a more favourable funding environment can’t be created.

I support The Heritage Alliance, the largest coalition of heritage interests in England, in calling on all political parties– now and in the future – to acknowledge the value that heritage gives this country by doing the following:

  1. Creating a positive tax regime for maintenance and conservation
  2. Repair and re-use is the accepted strategy for securing the future of our historic buildings but the 20% VAT rate on maintenance and adaptation compared with a zero rating on new build subsidises demolition and rebuilding. We ask that an even playing field is created so older properties can contribute fully to national life.

  3. Put heritage at the heart of sustainable development
  4. To ensure that our treasured local historic buildings and landscapes are protected and all opportunities realised, each Local Authority needs to have access to historic environment services including Historic Environment Records. Currently, there are more than 80 HERs at the local authority level in England maintained on a discretionary basis. We ask that a statutory duty is placed on local planning authorities to create and maintain a Historic Environment Record, so that the protection of the historic environment but also wider local economic growth and sustainable development objectives can be met.

  5. Securing the protection of our heritage
  6. Ensuring that adequate funding is provided (and the potential for reform is considered by Government and Local Authorities) so that a rigorous and efficient heritage protection system is in place.

  7. Attract more investment into heritage
  8. Ensuring the continuation of funding via HLF, and help create the skills and environment to increase philanthropic giving in the UK.

You can find more details at www.theheritagealliance.org.uk/manifesto

I would like your reassurance that, should you be elected in May 2015, you will support policies that further these aims above.

We are living in a time when heritage is more popular than ever: Heritage Open Days in September 2014 attracted a record 3 million visits across England; illustrating the deep-seated passion for exploring, enjoying, and visiting heritage sites that surround us in our local area. Yet this is also a time when significant cuts in public funding and declining grants to Local Authorities, is driving an already over-stretched heritage protection system towards crisis.

The heritage sector has long been entrepreneurial. You will see that none of the policy requests The Heritage Alliance is making are a call for government hand outs. Yet if heritage is to survive and thrive we must have the right environment and protection at the highest level.

Looking forward to hearing views …

writetothem.com

Find your local representative

You can find out the name of your local MP or representative using information from the two websites www.theyworkforyou.com/mps or using the Write to them box on the left to find the names of your local MPs, councillors, and representatives.