Rescue have responded to DCMS’ publication of The Culture White paper which “sets out the government’s ambition and strategy for the cultural sectors.”
Read our full response below.
The range of topics covered by the White Paper is impressive and it is clear that the government envisages a significant role for culture in its broadest sense with heritage as a significant part of the mix. RESCUE recognises the importance and potential offered by this vision but as a pragmatic organisation with a focus on practicality and the reality of delivery, we are left with some significant questions and concerns:
- We note throughout the White Paper a lack of an acknowledgement of the tension between national aspiration and the fact that the ongoing reduction in funding from national government to local government impacts disproportionately on museums, archaeological and conservation area planning, Historic Environment Records and local archive centres;
- We note the considerably enhanced role proposed for Historic England but question how
this will be achieved given the impact of long-term reductions in funding and staffing on the capacity of the organisation;
- We invite clarification of proposals to review local authority heritage services (including the provision of planning advice) and to re-structure Historic Environment Records;
- We regret that no mention is made of the fact that existing museum storage space is
inadequate for the archives generated by commercial archaeology and that the actual
destruction of archives is now a day-to-day reality in museums across the country. This issue needs to be resolved as a matter of urgency as without the archives on which to base both research and presentation, the aspirations set out in this document will not be achievable.