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Heritage in the Context of Britain’s Future Relationship with the EU

The Heritage Alliance publishes a new briefing on Brexit and Heritage.

On 31 January 2020, the UK left the European Union. This continues to present several opportunities for the heritage sector, as well as some challenges. We have produced a briefing that sets out the opportunities we would like the Government to grasp now that we have left the European Union, as well as our key asks ahead of the negotiation of a free trade agreement with the EU.   

Opportunities to grasp 

  1. The Government should use this opportunity to kickstart the heritage construction industry and reduce VAT on repair, maintenance, and alteration of historic buildings to 0%. This would help to protect our built heritage and support the Government’s Net Zero target. 
  1. Leaving the EU also offers the opportunity for UK-based organisations to think internationally in a wider context. Our 2018 International Report’s recommendations included funding to facilitate an international skills exchange in a heritage context. 
  1. An effectively designed replacement to the Common Agricultural Policy will be an important part of protecting heritage into the future. We welcome the Government’s intention to replace blanket subsidies to farmers with money for specific environmental and heritage services. This will provide public money to those providing a public good.

Key asks for the future relationship 

  1. Funding. Heritage projects and scientific research received at least £450m in funding via the EU over the last decade. Funding is vitally important to the continued success of our sector.
  1. Skills. Many workers in the heritage sector are EU nationals. Barriers to accessing their labour will have a negative impact on the productivity of organisations in our sector.
  1. Goods. Many materials, such as lime and specific types of stone, are imported to the UK from the EU to help with the conservation of our built heritage. Access to these goods must be as unfettered as possible. 
  1. Standards. Strong environmental standards are important to our sector. These must not be diminished in the future.  

To see the full paper, which includes more detail and specific examples, please click here