Join the Debate: What You Told Us
In our 'join the debate' survey we asked you to tell us: “What support would help the heritage sector survive and recover from the Covid-19 restrictions?” Thank you to all who answered. Below you can see all the responses we’ve received up until the modified date of this page.
Your comments and ideas will feed into the information we're gathering to inform decisions on what we can do to support the heritage sector.
Support for the sector
Extend furloughing for the heritage sector well beyond the current deadline and beyond that for the rest of the economy. The sector was hit first and hardest and will take a long time to recover, as some attractions will be unable to operate viably in order to adhere to social distancing guidelines. Government must give ample notice to reopen attractions in order to conduct the necessary health, safety and risk assessments in order to open safely. We will need sector-specific guidance from PHE on the use of PPE for staff and visitors, and clear attraction-specific guidance on social distancing measures. Local authority-run attractions should be exempt from business rates this year, like the rest of the business sector. Government should allow flexible and speedy permissions for attractions' restaurants and cafes to operate for takeaway business, without unnecessary and bureaucratic licensing procedures for change of use.
The heritage sector urgently needs a dedicated listed church repair grant scheme as it did before the lockdown.
Small grants to ensure small contractors have paid work, and the work benefits the general public and/or the heritage environment. from remote surveys to archives
Re-introduction of sideways loss relief and consideration to allow venues urgently to open for outdoor public access, weddings and small events and tours to at least get some cashflow into the system in the 2020 season. Then recognition of the huge implications that heritage will lose and making tax concessions for its future security.
Investment from central government for maintenance and further studies of the assets within this sector to cover buildings, landscapes.
Public money of course at first to keep from catastrophic break down, followed by an honest reappraisal of the importance of heritage and culture to the UK in both economic terms (jobs, revenue etc) and wellbeing.
Financial support for the sector, not only so they can survive another year but also so they can implement social distancing measures.
A funding programme to digitise more archives, so we can all access them from wherever we are. Free access to national and regional collections would enrich people's lives, by enabling them to engage more with heritage. Professionally, it would enable more knowledge and information to be shared about the history and significance of places, to inform better quality decisions about conservation. More interactive websites like the Bristol 'Know Your Place online mapping and archive project; this quality of access is absent in large areas of the North. https://maps.bristol.gov.uk/kyp/?edition=
Zero rate VAT on historic building repairs.
Clear advice, sharing of good practice, avoidance of duplication of resources...perhaps County or Regional clusters of organisations...using CBA network? to help support one another as restrictions ease?
Parks and gardens
If we spent less time responding to planning applications for inappropriate deveopment in, or adversely affecting historic parks and landscapes, we would have more time to devote to more positive activities to help the heritage sector. This would include getting more people involved in heritage conservation, restoration, and management as well as enjoying and appreciating the value of them. Removing VAT on historic landscape and building restoration would also help. Local, and green heritage is an essential service to local people!
Get local councillors engaged in forcing local authorities to take parks seriously. Friends groups are helpful but in the end have little financial authority ...or any other. I ought to know as my husband and I are members of such an organization, and ultimately power is in the local authorities hands, full stop.
At least try to get the gardens of the homes open again, even if houses themselves cannot be re-opened. Pre-booking of garden visits may be to ensure numbers at any one time are not too great. Open gardens every day of week (not just once or twice a week as is sometimes the case).
It has to come from the population. There should be a joint publicity programme from the sector about the background and hard fought for public spaces. Stop the commercialism. Let people see the value of space and heritage. Public spaces need more support than those run by charity.
Open the gardens now!
A reduction in ticket prices may encourage visitors and the secondary/tertiary spend. The difference could potentially be made up of small loans/grants enough to support organisations through the crisis. Lack of large scale expendable income will result in lower attendance and will extend the financial burden, diversification within the sector and at a local level, offering skills courses, lectures, catering will increase popularity and exposure. A more sustainable approach than big pay bail outs.
Relaxing planning rules for temporary structures/events/car parks etc that could assist with enabling recovery.
I think either an extension to membership or a percentage off the next renewals would benefit. If HH do not reimburse members in some way people will not be renewing next year which means HH will be worse off.