Policy Round-up: January 2019
Belated Happy New Year from the policy team! We hope that like us, you had a chance for a rest over the festive period. We might have only been back for a month, but the consultations have flurried like the snow, and with plenty of meetings with sector colleagues and politicians too, the year has been off to a flying start.
Historic Houses members will be aware of our ongoing campaign to change the income tax charged annually on heritage maintenance funds, reducing it from the trust rate to the basic rate. In January Ben and James had a productive meeting with Mel Stride MP, Financial Secretary to the Treasury and Paymaster General, along with the Heritage Minister Michael Ellis. We think this is the first time Historic Houses has been invited to meet directly with a Treasury minister for at least a decade, and even if there is no immediate change it is good to have made contact with the Treasury in this way.
As Historic Houses members may have seen, the Heritage Lottery Fund has renamed itself the National Lottery Heritage Fund. This subtle change is designed to draw attention to the importance of the National Lottery more generally in its support for good causes, which of course include heritage. We were delighted to attend the launch of the new National Lottery Heritage Fund Strategic Framework 2019 – 2024. At the heart of the new strategy is a commitment to devolution, with 80% of all funding decisions being made by teams in Scotland, Wales, Norther Ireland, and three new English regions (North, Midlands and East, and South). As well as requiring every project that receives funding to be environmentally friendly, there is a new commitment to working with for-profit companies to fund projects in innovative new ways.
You can read more about these changes to application priorities and process on the Heritage Fund website.
Following the vote in Parliament on 29 January, MPs passed the ‘Spelman-Dromey Amendment’, that the UK will not leave the EU without a deal. This amendment was only advisory, however, and has no binding legal basis. We will continue to monitor this potentially volatile political landscape and keep Historic Houses members as informed as we can of relevant Brexit developments.
Emma and Polly, the policy team