Conservatives failing to conserve British history
I noticed in my recent edition of History Today a short article referring to a report by the British Academy, History for the Taking:Perspectives on material heritage, which shows that the government spending cuts and rushed legislation risk destroying Britain’s cultural heritage irreparably.
Sir Barry Cunliffe, Britain’s leading archaeologist, writes in the report that:
“cultural heritage is a finite and diminishing resource and there is a need for constant vigilance particularly at a time of economic constraint. When there are cuts to be made by national or local government, heritage is always the soft option, as we can see in the 32% cut in government support for English Heritage in the 2010 Comprehensive Spending Review, and the savage cuts currently being made in the number of conservation officers employed in local government. Loss of expertise on this scale will be devastating.
It is even more worrying coming at a time when the Localism Bill is proposing to diminish significantly the protection given to the settings of listed buildings and to conservation areas. One cannot help feeling that insufficient thought has been given to these matters: this is not surprising since the legislation is being rushed and consultation has been minimal.”
He goes on to say:
“Cultural heritage is too important and too subtle an issue to be left in the care of busy politicians unaided by sound academic guidance.”
Just shows you what can happen if you leave your cultural inheritance to an IT expert and a lawyer, culture ministers Jeremy Hunt and Ed Vaisey respectively.
For a copy of the report go to the BA report’s web page