Policy Round-up: July 2019
Things have been hotting up in Westminster this month, and at Chester Street we have closely followed the leadership race and Boris Johnson’s journey to Number 10. Alongside a new Prime Minister, we welcome a new set of cabinet and junior ministers to introduce to Historic Houses and engage in our house members’ work. We have written to various ministers over the last week, including Nicky Morgan MP to welcome her as Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, and Rebecca Pow MP who we are pleased will be staying on as Minister for Arts, Heritage & Tourism.
This month we submitted a comprehensive response to a Welsh Government consultation into improving access to listed buildings in Wales, and are busy following up our previous submission on the ivory trade with a response to a new consultation on the trade of non-elephant ivories. Next month we will be responding to the Environmental Audit Committee’s sustainable tourism inquiry, for which we will be gathering house member case studies to demonstrate both the opportunities and the issues involved in the pursuit of greater sustainability.
Following the news of a Tourism Sector Deal announced last month, the policy team attended the Tourism Alliance’s AGM to hear from DCMS’s Head of Tourism, Stephen Darke. He outlined the priorities for the sector in the coming year, and answered questions relating to the implementation of the new Deal. House members can read a full report on the Tourism Sector Deal and find out more about the opportunities that may be available by logging into house members’ news. We hope to hear an update on the Deal from Stephen Darke at the next meeting of our Tourism and Commercial Development Committee in November.
Mid-month we attended a useful Q&A event with Shadow Environment Secretary Sue Hayman MP, and made our way over to the House of Lords for a lively roundtable meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Arts, Health and Wellbeing (check out the Historic Houses Blog to read our reflections on this meeting). Also this month we were particularly pleased to see the inclusion of our Heritage Maintenance Funds proposal in both the Heritage Alliance’s Fiscal Manifesto and the Liberal Democrat Party Tourism Policy Paper, which will be presented to the party at their conference in Bournemouth in September.
Finally, the team here at Historic Houses HQ was delighted to welcome Lydia to her new role as our Policy Officer in early July. Lydia has joined the team with experience of working in both a local authority planning department and a Historic Houses member property – a background that will be hugely valuable as we continue our work engaging politicians, stakeholders and heritage sector colleagues with the economic, social and cultural impact of our house members.
Parliament is now in recess until September, but we’re still here! August will see us working on various consultations and calls for evidence, catching up with colleagues across the heritage sector, and hitting the road for meetings with several member houses and gardens during the height of their visitor season.
Emma and Lydia, the policy team