Historic Environment Scotland (HES) has welcomed confirmation of an additional £21.3 million funding from the Scottish Government (SG) to help manage the impacts of COVID-19.
Additional grant in aid of £21.3 million from the Scottish Government, which was announced recently as part of a funding package for the culture, heritage and arts sectors, will help to protect jobs and ensure that HES can continue to deliver its core statutory and regulatory functions.
This includes the care and management, on behalf of Scottish Ministers, of over 300 historic properties and their associated collections, and designations and heritage management work including HES’ key role in Scotland’s planning system. The funding will also support the safe reopening of many HES sites to visitors.
A further £5.9 million from the funding package will support communities, projects and organisations across Scotland through commitments in HES’ grants programme.
The funding, which comes from the £97m UK Government consequentials for the culture and heritage sectors, and is part of a total package of £37.1 million from the Scottish Government to HES which includes additional capital funding for grants and conservation work.
Jane Ryder, Chair of HES, said:
“We warmly welcome this news from the Scottish Government. The current pandemic and the subsequent closure of our visitor sites for over four months have had a significant and continuing impact on our organisation, and Scotland’s heritage sector more widely.
“HES, and the wider heritage sector supports many jobs and businesses and reaches into every part of the country. This welcome funding ensures HES is able to continue delivering our key functions and allows us to support the sector and the wider economy through continued investment in grant programmes, communities and skills. In these challenging times, we will also be emphasising the importance of the sector’s wider contributions to the health and wellbeing of visitors and citizens, as well as to Scotland’s economic recovery.”
Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said:
“The heritage sector has been profoundly affected by the coronavirus pandemic and, as our lead public body, Historic Environment Scotland (HES), is no exception. The reduction in its commercial income as a result of property closures means that this has been a testing time for the organisation and its staff.
“HES’s work makes a vital contribution to the protection and interpretation of our historic environment through managing world-renowned heritage sites, supporting communities and economies through its grants, and providing expert advice in relation to key areas like climate change and place-making.
“It was important the Scottish Government stepped in to ensure HES could carry on its vital work across Scotland. This funding will help it to reopen its properties and protect jobs as well as enabling it to continue to invest in the conservation of the sites in its care.”