Britain is facing the most significant threat to its archaeological heritage since the heady days of the economic boom of the late 1960s and early 1970s. There is now a significant risk that the whole infrastructure of support and protection for archaeology, painstakingly developed over the past 40 years, will be irreparably damaged as a result of the budgetary cuts imposed by local and national government and the ongoing recession. Local authority funding constraints are again hitting the already struggling museum, HER and planning control sectors extremely hard and there is the real prospect of a catastrophic loss of irreplaceable professional expertise as jobs are cut and conditions of employment decline in the face of understaffing.
In addition the changes in the funding of higher education will have a direct effect on the availability of suitably skilled staff to replace the current losses when an economic recovery allows this.
In 1972 RESCUE was established to raise awareness of the archaeological sites being lost as a result of uncontrolled development and we have continued to identify this and other threats ever since. Today RESCUE is committed to highlighting and opposing the effects of funding shortfalls these national and local cuts are having on heritage services, archaeology and museums all across the country by mapping them on our web site and reporting the inevitable effects to government.