Schedule 16 - Heritage planning regulation
Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill
Iain Wright (Hartlepool, Labour)
It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mr Brady. I welcome you and the rest of the Committee back to our deliberations.
Before we ended this morning’s sitting I was speaking about heritage partnership agreements, and about how I agreed with the Minister that HPAs can provide clarity, mutual understanding between the various parties, and a consistent approach, which is important across a whole range of regulation and business policy, but particularly with regard to heritage protection. I was focusing on the budget cuts of about 32% for English Heritage and, as I feel that the Minister skirted over the issue, saying that there would be priorities and economies of scale, I would like him to expand on that. Given the onerous task before English Heritage—and local planning authorities—will sufficient support and resource be available to the organisation? What, if any, financial assistance or support could his Department provide to enable English Heritage to fulfil its duties under the provisions?
Mark Prisk (Minister of State (Business and Enterprise), Business, Innovation and Skills; Hertford and Stortford, Conservative)
I welcome you to the Chair, Mr Brady. We are confident that English Heritage will be able to deliver the reforms in the Bill. Importantly, in our discussions before lunch, we learnt that things such as the heritage partnership agreements will really help organisations such as English Heritage to focus and better use their resource. The national heritage protection plan sets out exactly how English Heritage, with help from partners in the sector, will prioritise, and will deliver heritage protection over the next four years, including refocusing designation activities to respond to the changes set out in the Bill.
I suspect that the hon. Gentleman is all too well aware that this is not a matter on which English Heritage reports to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. It reports to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, and although it might be tempting to decide on its behalf potential spending commitments, I would be wiser to reserve my remarks. We are aware of the challenges, but are confident that English Heritage will be able to implement the reforms. On that basis, and without wanting to sprint too fast to the finish, I conclude my remarks.