Heritage Manifesto 2024 (Cover Image)

Heritage Manifesto Refreshed for 2024

Policy News

Lord Neil Mendoza CBE (Chair of Historic England), Dr Ingrid Samuel OBE (Our Acting Chair), Lord Stephen Parkinson (Minister for Arts and Heritage) and Lizzie Glithero-West (Our CEO) at Heritage Day last week. Photo c. Barney Newman.

Today we re-launch our Heritage Manifesto with the latest facts and figures about the value of heritage for this election year. With a fresh look, some brand new asks and now featuring the most up-to-date data from Heritage Counts, the manifesto reflects our priorities for the protection and empowerment of heritage in 2024.

The Heritage Manifesto has been collaboratively created over the past year to draw attention to the key policy measures needed to ensure the future of our shared heritage. It urges all major political parties to adopt a five-point plan to not only protect it, but to maximise the benefits it can create for communities and the environment. It represents the views of our 200-strong membership, covering the breadth of the sector from from museums to railways, gardens to shipwrecks, canals to theatres, and from archaeological sites to places of worship and so much more.

Attendees at Heritage Day last week got a preview in their goody bags, including Heritage Minister Lord Parkinson, the Chair of Historic England Lord Mendoza, and our ‘Heritage Hustings’ panel of representatives from all parties. Sector leaders and parliamentarians of all stripes expanded on our vision throughout the day, with our CEO Lizzie Glithero-West presenting an overview of our five key priorities:

What’s Changed?

New Data:

  • As of 2023, Heritage produces a GVA (gross value added) impact of £45.1bn (previously £36.6bn). This is now equivalent to 2.5% of national GVA (previously 2%)
  • We highlight that Local Authority spending on heritage has been cut by more than 40% since 2011, and conservation capacity in planning teams has almost halved since 2009

Calls for new protections:

  • Ratification of the UNESCO convention for the protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage, using a Memorandum of Understanding between relevant government departments for effective collaboration
  • A full review on the role of Permitted Development Rights in the planning system
  • New Protections for nationally important archaeological sites without structure
  • A new designation system for nationally important items of mobile heritage such as historic vessels

Calls for new funding:

  • A new Culture Growth Fund (building on the success of the Culture Recovery Fund) to deliver targeted investment to safeguard our future and leverage new growth
  • An equivalent scheme to the Arts Council’s National Portfolio Organisations system to provide capital funding for the independent heritage sector
  • A fair, long-term funding settlement for local government to enable council-funded museums and heritage sites to keep delivering positive community outcomes

Next Steps

The Heritage Manifesto is for anyone advocating for the future of heritage – we invite you to share it widely with your networks and local decision makers. We will continue to use the manifesto to champion the priorities of the sector throughout this year as we head towards a general election, and we encourage our members and sector colleagues to use it to back up your own calls for support and investment in heritage at both a national and a local level. You can find our Advocacy Toolkit here, which contains some resources you can use to spread the word.

Please get in touch with our Head of Policy Lydia Gibson (policy@theheritagealliance.org.uk) if you have any questions about the manifesto or would like to discuss how you can support our priorities. Please contact us if you would like support contacting your local MP or arranging a visit.