Cuts Watch #294: English Heritage
English Heritage, which runs hundreds of historic buildings and provides conservation grants for many more, faces a cut of 32%, significantly higher than the Department for Culture, Media and Sport’s overall figure of 25%. Secretary of State Jeremy Hunt says that despite this cut, he expects English Heritage to:
“make every effort to ensure that … total funding for planning advice, grants for heritage at risk and the conservation and maintenance of sites in English Heritage’s care are protected and have a cut of no more than 15% in real terms.”
To achieve this he expects the organisation to increase self-generated income and cut administration 50% in real terms. Increasing fund-raising during a recession has been described as an “exceptionally challenging” task by Baroness Andrews, the organisation’s chair.
In a very interesting article, Charlotte Higgins has pointed out that this approach – which has also been taken with the Arts Council and other DCMS bodies – allows the government to claim that arts cuts are just 15% (below the average across government) when in fact they are twice that (above the average). The fine print of the DCMS cuts announcement reveals that the cuts are also masked by allowing the British Library and the nationally funded museums to use up to £143 million of their historic reserves over the next four years.