Policy Round-Up: June 2019
While, for many, June signals the start of summer, for Historic Houses it also officially marks the start of our AGM season! We look forward to this time each year as an opportunity to reconnect with our house members across the UK, update you on our work from the last 12 months and listen to your questions and concerns for the coming 12 months. We have already been to Scotland, Wales, Wessex and the East Midlands, and have had many interesting discussions with members.
Politics is rarely quiet, but June was a particularly significant month. After months of speculation, Theresa May officially announced her resignation, which prompted a leadership contest. After a number of rounds, Jeremy Hunt and Boris Johnson have emerged as the two front-runners. Conservative party members now have until 21 July to vote for the new Prime Minister, who will be announced on 22 July. We fully expect this to mean that we will have another new set of ministers to welcome and to introduce to Historic Houses, and we will be ready to leap in to action as soon as ministers are confirmed.
There might be a leadership election but that hasn’t stopped the consultations from government coming in. This month we have responded to the EFRA committee inquiry looking at broadband and digital only services, the easy access to listed buildings consultation from Welsh Government, and the consultation on the non-domestic rates bill in Scotland.
The big news of the month came on 28 June, when the Prime Minister announced a Tourism Sector Deal as part of the Government’s Industrial Strategy. Following two years of consultation and negotiation with the tourism industry, the Sector Deal underlines the importance of tourism to the UK economy. The leading role of heritage in attracting visitors to our shores and driving economic growth is highlighted throughout, including in the opening sentence of the Foreword. The Sector Deal sets out various proposals that may provide opportunities for house members with tourism and events offers; find out more here.
Finally, a bit of personal news from the policy team. After three years with Historic Houses, Polly will be leaving at the end of the month to take up the Policy and Information Officer role at The National Archives. While we are sad to see her go, we are also excited to see her take the next step in her career and look forward to welcoming her successor Lydia Gibson, in July.
Emma and Polly, the policy team.