Policy Round-Up: January 2022


January has been another busy month for the policy team – we waved goodbye to Lydia Gibson as she joins the British Academy and welcomed our new Policy Officer, Sarah Roller. With the relaxation of the ‘Plan B’ Covid-19 restrictions implemented in December, it feels as though some degree of normality has returned. We are optimistic about the year ahead of us, and hope that 2022 will not see any new restrictions introduced.

This month has seen us respond to the Ministry of Justice’s consultation on whether outdoor weddings should be allowed permanently: we are feeling optimistic that this change, along with others recommended by the Law Commission, will be implemented at some point in the spring or summer of this year, although the precise timing is unclear and the uncertainty is somewhat frustrating. We hope that with the changes made to Permitted Development Rights which will now allow for marquees to be erected for up to 120 days, outdoor weddings will made more feasible for many members.

We have also been in contact with the Valuations Office Agency prior to the revaluation of business rates in the next few months, with the aim of getting them to take into account the difficult trading conditions and often slow recovery faced by many of our members as they make their revaluations.

The long-awaited publication of the government’s Levelling Up White Paper should give us plenty of opportunities to build on existing policies and we will continue to champion heritage and culture as a key part of the Levelling Up Agenda moving forward.

We are looking forward to receiving the results of the 2021 Annual Survey, alongside the results of various more informal surveys we’re currently conducting. These will all help us understand the situations faced by many of our member houses and shape and inform aspects of our lobbying work moving forward into 2022.

There’s plenty to keep us busy in February as we meet with MPs, provide evidence to the DCMS Select Committee, respond to more consultations and await the fallout of Sue Gray’s report into ‘Partygate’, and the potential leadership contest this crisis may cause.

Sarah and James, the Policy Team