Early in 2014, Ed Vaizey convened an enquiry into the future of local government archaeology services under John Howell MP and Lord Redesdale. The call for written evidence by the enquiry was well received by the sector and numerous heritage organisations submitted detailed responses.
These established beyond doubt that cuts to the budgets of local authorities and of national heritage bodies are placing a severe burden on existing services and are leading to an inexorable decline in the quality of service and the ability of local government to meet its obligations to archaeology and our national heritage more generally.
A report into the situation based on the enquiry’s findings was promised but today, over a year after the committee concluded gathering evidence, we are still waiting for the report. In the meantime local authority archaeological services have continued to decline with posts frozen and deleted and ongoing cuts to budgets that were already barely adequate for the purpose. Rescue have called upon Mr Vaizey to publish the results of the enquiry as soon as possible.
Our letter is below.