IHBC Chair co-signs letter promoting heritage alongside arts for Government support, in advance of £1.57Bn fund: ‘Heritage is not just old stuff’

IHBC Chair David McDonald co-signed a letter from The Heritage Alliance (THA) to the Telegraph – published on 4 July – highlighting the need to include heritage as well as the arts in financial assistance from Government, noting that ‘Heritage is not just old stuff.’

David McDonald said: ‘This may have had some effect as heritage was included in the £1.57bn fund for assistance for the arts.’

Peter Ainsworth, THA Chair writes:

The creative arts will eventually be kick-started and we long for that. We are a creative nation. What might be harder to kick-start are the places, the objects and skills which reflect our historic creativity. Heritage is a public benefit.

The Heritage sector directly employs around 200,000 people, engages with over 700,000 volunteers, and contributes nearly £30 billion to the national economy every year, as well as offering places where people can be inspired and happy.

It is vital to sustaining our tourism and creative industries and in promoting our soft influence around the world. People come here for Stonehenge, historic houses, castles, museums, and landscapes as well as for theatres. Heritage is not just old stuff. As recent controversies demonstrate, things that possess antiquity retain a potent ability to engage with each succeeding generation, providing a bridge to the past whilst offering themselves to new interpretations.

We are grateful to the Government Department (DCMS) charged with championing the work of our sector. May the case being made to the Treasury prevail. If the contents of a museum or a medieval church or an historic property are sold and dispersed, they will never return; maintenance may become impossible. That would be a truly irreparable loss to our ability to understand who we are. We are in danger of losing the backdrop to our lives.

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